Iowa freshmen dominate in Big Four Dual


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Larry Wieczorek was noticeably confident after watching his newest recruits compete for the first time in 2014.

“The freshmen, men and women, bring talent, competitiveness, and kind of a star-power quality to our program,” he said following the Big Four meet on Jan. 18.

The coach was full of praise and rightfully so — six different events were won by freshmen while nine other first-year Hawks finished in second or third place.

To start things off, O’Shea Wilson won the long jump with a distance of 7.53 meters — a jump that ranks eighth in the nation. Another freshman, Iowa’s Brittany Brown, broke a 31-year old school record in the 60 meters in her first college race and followed it up by winning the 200. Her official time ranks 10th all-time in the Hawkeye history books for that distance.

“I was really nervous, but I didn’t let it get the best of me,” Brown said. “I had a good first race, and it was a good way to get the season going. It felt good.”

The wins kept rolling in as freshman Elexis Guster and Katharina Trost won the 400 meter and the mile. Guster’s time was also good enough to rank fifth in school history. She also was part of the winning 4x400 team that beat second-place Iowa State by nearly four seconds.

Freshman Aaron Mallett also impressed in the Hawks record-breaking day, finishing the 60-meter hurdle in 7.94 seconds — a time that was good enough for fourth in school history. He also was part of the winning men’s 4x400 team that included freshman Jared Ganschow.

“I knew everyone was going to come out running hard, especially since everyone wants the bragging rights of Iowa,” Mallett said. “I just came out, ran hard, and got my [personal records], so I’m happy about that.”

Mallett believes that training with senior Ethan Holmes had a lot to do with his success in this meet.
“He’s so decorated and stuff, me training so close to him, I was expecting good things to happen,” Mallett said.

Things are looking up for an Iowa program that has potential to put several of its runners and field athletes into contention in the Big Ten and NCAA meets.

“It’s early, and this isn’t necessarily a fast track when you talk about running a 200 or a 400 in here, but you get on a big track and four to five weeks into the season with this group, and you’ll see even more — we’ll begin to see not only school records but national-level performances,” head coach Layne Anderson said.

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