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Mallett headed for world stage

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | APRIL 22, 2015 5:00 AM

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While in high school, Iowa hurdler and sprinter Aaron Mallett got a passport in hopes of competing at the US Junior World Championships.

He never got to use the passport — until now.

On July 3-14, he’ll be able to use it for the first time, as he will competr in the 110-meter hurdles at the World University Games.

Based on Mallet’s performance this track and field season, the United States had room on its roster and wanted to see if Mallett was interested before selections were made. Without hesitation, Mallett, accepted the offer and was chosen by a selection committee.

Mallett is still honored that he’ll be able to showcase his talents on a world stage by representing not only the Hawkeyes but also the United States.

“This is just a great opportunity because I’ve been putting in a lot of work,” he said. “This year it’s actually starting to show all the stuff we do in training and on the field.

“Just everything that I put into this sport, everything my coaches put in, and what my teammates put in. It’s all starting to show.”

Mallett said the opportunity to compete in South Korea is a reward to how he’s competed in his sophomore year for the Hawkeyes.

Reward is the right word to describe all the things Mallett has done not only for himself but also for his team this season.

The St. Louis native is fourth in the nation in the 110-meter hurdles, first in the Big Ten, and ranks second in Iowa history. He landed those spots when he set a personal best at the Florida Relays with a groundbreaking time of 13.60.

In addition to that, Mallett was crowned Big Ten Athlete of the Week and his sixth-place performance at indoor nationals snagged him an All-American honor.

Mallett will be the first Hawkeye to compete at the world games since All-American Justin Austin did in 2013. His coach — Director of Track and Field Joey Woody — competed in the 1997 games.

With his experience in the games, Woody plans on showing the ropes to Mallett before he heads to South Korea.

“Being on that USA team is such a big deal,” Woody said. “You’re a part of a team of college athletes that are coming together, so everyone has been through the collegiate system.”

In the University World Games, Mallett will be surrounded by a number of fierce athletes not only from the country but from around the world.

That in mind, he’s looking forward to taking advice from the pros that he’s hoping to bring back to his team.

“Just watching the pros warm up, watching them race, and watch what they do to keep themselves calm is going to be a great thing,” Mallett said. “I can bring all these aspects back to my teammates next season, and we can work to be a better team.”

Although he wants to bring that advice back next season to help his team, his teammates already believe he’s fulfilling that task now through his work on and off the field.

One of those teammates, Brendan Thompson, who competes on the 4x100-meter relay squad with Mallett, has no worries when it comes to his leadership.

“It’s inspiring seeing his hard work pay off and encouraging for the future seeing he is only a sophomore,” Thompson said. “I can’t think of a more deserving person to have this type of opportunity.”

Follow @Marioxwilliams for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa track and field teams.


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