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Mixed bag for track and field at Big Tens

BY MARIO WILLIAMS AND COURTNEY BAUMANN | MARCH 02, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa track and field teams traveled to Geneva, Ohio, over this past weekend to compete in the Big Ten indoor track and field championships. The Hawkeye men finished seventh overall, but the women took last.

Men’s

The Iowa men’s track and field team closed its indoor season on a positive note. The Hawkeyes improved on their 10th-place finish last season, finishing seventh at the Big Ten meet with 49 points.
A number of track Hawks earned personal bests and even received some hardware. Senior Babatunde Amosu made his mark in the triple jump as he won the event for a second-consecutive year. On his first attempt, he jumped for a personal best of 16.07 meters to surpass Penn State’s Brian Leap.

“The whole aim of today was to go into the competition and put a mark down in the first round,” Amosu said in a statement. “The only thing I was thinking about was the fact that I had to [get a personal record] in order to get the gold again. Big Tens is where it’s at, and this is our main competition. I thought to myself if I’m going to put out a big mark, it might as well be right here, right now.”

Other big-time performances came from sophomore Aaron Mallet and junior Kevin Spejcher. Mallet was crowned Big Ten runner-up in the men’s 60-meter hurdles with a career-best time of 7.78. His mark is ranked second on Iowa’s all-time list and also ranks ninth nationally. Spejcher earned a bronze medal in the men’s high jump with a mark of 2.12 meters.

Women’s

The Iowa women’s track team had a less than impressive finish at the Big Ten meet. The Hawkeyes finished last out of the 13 teams competing, posting only 22 points. Iowa dropped five spots and finished with 27.5 fewer points than it did last year at the same competition.

Only three events on the women’s side neared the podium in Geneva, Ohio, with fourth-place finishes in the 200 meter by Brittany Brown and Elexis Guster in the 400 meter, as well as a fifth-place finish by the 1,600-meter relay group of Lake Kwaza, MonTayla Holder, Mahnee Watts, and Guster.

“On the women’s side, it was very disappointing and not what we were expecting,” Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said in a statement. “We had a lot more opportunities, and we didn’t take advantage of them. We had a lot of athletes who were ranked a lot higher and didn’t really perform today.”

Although members of the team said they felt confident before the meet, the Hawkeyes could not match the level of competition.

The Hawkeyes will now look toward the opening of their outdoor season, which will begin March 20, when the team is scheduled to travel to Tempe, Arizona, for the Baldy Castillo Invitational.

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


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