Tracksters split up for 3 meets


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The Iowa track and field team will split into three groups in the upcoming weekend and head to opposite coasts. Sprints, throws, and mid-distance are set to travel to Gainesville, Florida, for the Florida Relays. Some distance athletes will travel to Stanford for the Stanford Invitational, and other distance runners will head to San Francisco for the San Francisco Distance Carnival.

Florida Relays

The Hawkeyes will have their second opportunity this season to showcase events that are not seen during indoor track. Among those are numerous throwing events such as javelin, discus, and hammer throw, longer hurdles, and the 4x100-meter relays.

Included in those events are Aaron Mallett in the 110-meter hurdles, MonTayla Holder in the 400-meter hurdles, and Gabe Hull in the discus. All three Hawkeyes claimed first-place finishes at the Baldy Castillo Invitational March 20-21. Sophomore Mallett was also named Big Ten Athlete of the Week following his personal-best performance in Tempe, Arizona.

Other Hawkeyes who scored points for the team at the previous meet included Jahisha Thomas in the 100-meter hurdles, Annemie Smith in the hammer throw, and the men’s 400-meter relay team.

“Some of our stronger events are the javelin, the discus, and the 4x1. Now, we are able to use those athletes at bigger meets and they can score points for us,” Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “I think the biggest thing is that now we’ve got events that are more to our strong suit.”

Throws coach Andrew Dubs hopes to see better performances from his athletes now that the team has had the chance to practice outdoors for a few weeks.

Before traveling to Arizona, the team did not have much of an opportunity to actually get a feel for and adjust to throwing outdoors.

“[Being outside] is definitely an adjustment, especially since we’ve been throwing into a net and focusing more on the body positioning and technique,” Dubs said. “Now that they have an open sky, they’re kind of rushing things a little bit. I’ve been explaining it will take a couple of weeks for them to get back into the technical rhythm of it.”

Because they’ve been practicing outside, Dubs expects the Hawkeyes to perform better than they did at the last meet and post a few personal bests.

Iowa will compete against a high level of competition from all over, including Penn State, Maryland, Indiana, and Purdue

Stanford Invitational

A smaller number of Hawkeyes will make the trip to Stanford. Unlike the Florida Relays, the Stanford Invitational is more of a distance-friendly competition.

“It’s kind of a distance carnival,” Woody said. “Most of the best distance runners in the country will be out there trying to hit qualifying marks.”

The Hawkeye contingent includes Ben Witt in the 5,000 meters, Kevin Lewis in the 10,000-meters, Shannon Maser in the 1,500-meters, and Marta Bote Gonzalez, making her college 3,000-meter steeplechase début.

“It’s sort of the icebreaker for her,” distance coach Layne Anderson said. “It’ll be good to see her get the first one under her belt.”

San Francisco Distance Carnival

Lisa Gordon and Tess Wilberding are scheduled to compete in the 1,500 meter and Daniel Huff and Michael Melchert in the 5,000 meters in San Francisco.

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