Frustrating results for Hawkeyes at Drake Relays
The Iowa men's track and field team started and ended their first day at the 102nd annual Drake Relays with solid performances, but frustration was the theme throughout most of day one.
Matt Byers fourth-place performance in the javelin was a prime example. The sophomore consistently threw over 230 feet during warm-ups, but his best toss during competition only flew 223 feet, five inches.
Byers placed third at last year's Drake Relays.
While Byers didn't use weather conditions as an excuse, the wind picked up during a few of his throws and died down during other portions of the competition.
"That was the most disappointing part about today was I wanted to come out here and compete like the coaches were talking about," Byers said. "I felt like I did that, but [the javelin] just wasn't going anywhere."
Jeff Herron had a season-best performance in the long jump, but only walked away with an eleventh-place finish. Herron's longest jump of the day measured 24 feet, and three-quarters inch.
Nebraska's Chris Phipps won the even with a jump of 26 feet, two and three-quarters inch.
"I didn't really develop my speed down the runway," Herron said. "The actual jump itself was pretty good, but if you don't put the beginning part together, the ending won't be there."
Jordan Mullen won his 110-meter hurdle heat during the morning session, posting the second-fastest preliminary time at 14.02 seconds.
But one of the few bright spots for the Hawkeyes turned dark as day turned to night at the Drake Stadium.
Mullen was set to run in Saturday's 110 hurdles final until he pulled up with an injury during the night session's 4x200-meter relay.
The sophomore took the baton from Steven Willey and ran no more than 100 meters when he reached for his right thigh. Mullen stopped running in the turn before making it to the back stretch of the track.
It is uncertain whether or not Mullen will be able to run tomorrow.
Iowa's other relay's posted good enough times to qualify for Saturday's finals.
The 4x100-meter relay was Iowa's first competition of the day. The foursome ran the eighth-fastest preliminary time, finishing in 40.64 seconds.
Willey, D'Juan Richarson, Ethan Holmes, and Chris Barton ran the 4x400-meter relay in 3:09.00. It was the fifth-best time in the event's preliminary heats.
The Hawkeyes closed the night in the 4x800-meter relay final. Iowa finished second in the race, crossing the finish line in 7:23.77.
Minnesota gained a significant lead during the second and third legs that Iowa could not overcome. The Golden Gophers won in 7:19.51.
"We went out too hard and tried to catch them in the first lap," Jeff Thode said of his and Erik Sowinski's legs. "I just tried to catch Minnesota as fast as possible. That used to be my racing tactic for the 4x800, but apparently that doesn't work in college."
Future Hawkeye breaks Relays record
Ottumwa's Kevin Lewis showed why Iowa head coach Larry Wieczorek is excited for the high school senior to wear the Black and Gold next year.
Lewis broke a 38-year-old Drake Relays record in the 3,200 meter run Thursday night. He finished the race in 9:05.58, besting Mark Johnson's 1973 time of 9:06.30.
Lewis' mark is currently the best in the state.
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