Mallett looks forward to Big Ten meet


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After a self-described “slow start” to the season, Aaron Mallett is heating up — and at just the right time.

With the Big Ten indoor championships scheduled to begin Friday, the Iowa track and field sophomore is ranked third in the conference. His time of 7.88 in the 60-meter hurdles — which he accomplished at Notre Dame on Feb. 21 — trails only Donovan Robertson of Ohio State and Cam Viney of Illinois and is good for 36th in the nation.

“It definitely amped me up. That 7.88 that I ran at Notre Dame is a match for my personal record,” he said. “I see a lot of things I can fix, and if I can fix them, I can definitely make it to nationals and finish top three in the Big Ten,” Mallett said. “So that meet at Notre Dame really set me up to go into Big Tens with a positive head.”

Mallett said his goal at the beginning of every season is to prove himself to his competition. Through his work in the off-season, the St. Louis native believes he has done what is necessary in order to turn heads at the Big Ten meet.

One thing Mallett credits much of his success to thus far is working on the small things rather than trying to make large changes in order to get better. Focusing on small adjustments is key, he said.

“I really think I can make it to the NCAA meet. I’ve been putting things together, I’ve gotten much stronger and fixed the small things that make the most difference,” Mallett said. “You’ve got to train with intensity and stay calm instead of making big changes. If you make small changes, then you’ll run like you’ve been practicing.”

If Mallett runs anything like he’s been practicing, he will be sitting pretty at the Big Tens. Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said Mallett had his best practice of the season Tuesday in which he ran some of the best splits of his career.

“If he executes anything like he did [Tuesday], he’s got as good of a chance of getting to nationals as anybody,” Woody said. “He was fast. We’ve got an automatic timing system that we put up, and his splits were faster than they’ve been all year. It’s a good sign.”

Perhaps the greatest contributor to Mallett’s accomplishments this year is the maturity and focus he gained since last season.

Mallett believes that last year, he was shooting for goals that were too far out of his reach and hung up on things he could not control. This season, though, the Hawkeye changed his mindset.

“I’ve got a level of maturity this year that I didn’t have last year, and it’s really helping me out this year,” he said.

The track director had similar beliefs, noting that familiarity has been a key to Mallett’s success this year.

“I think the biggest difference between this year and last year for him is the maturity of knowing what to expect every meet and travel and all of that stuff and still continuing to keep his studies up,” Woody said. “He knows what to expect when he gets to the Big Ten meet … I think he’s got a great shot at getting to the top of the podium.”

Follow @cbomb12 on Twitter for news, analysis, and updates on the Iowa track and field team.

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