All the news from Division I Mens and Womens Track.

Isaiah Trousil-W. Burlington-UNI
©Mike Byrnes 2018

Panthers Off to a Good Start at Hawkeye Invite

Alanna Nietert-Lin Mar-UNI  ©Mike Byrnes 2018

Alanna Nietert-Lin Mar-UNI
©Mike Byrnes 2018

Maddie McCalla set a meet record and put up the fifth-best time in UNI history to win the 400m dash and highlight a strong Panther performance at the Hawkeye Invitational that included nine top-three finishes and five event wins.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Isaiah Trousil-W. Burlington-UNI ©Mike Byrnes 2018

McCalla won the 400m dash with a run of 55.57 which topped the meet record of 56.13. Her time is the best mark in the Missouri Valley Conference this season.

Evan Long also won the 400m with a time of 48.10 which moves him into the top-10 all-time for the Panthers. He also has the top time in MVC to date this season.

McKayla Cole won the 3K with a time of 10:07.88. The time is the second-fastest so far in the MVC to date.

The men’s 4×400-relay team finished first with a time of 3:13.69 for the top time in the MVC this season.

In the field events, Keegan Tritle won the shot put with a toss of 58-11.25, the top throw in the MVC so far this season.

Other top-3 finishes include Patrice Watson who took third in the 60-meter hurdles with a time of 8.84. Tayshaun Cooper finished third in the 200m dash with a time of 21.95. Sven Van Den Bergh was second in the 400m dash, just two-tenths of a second behind Long with a time of 48.12.

In the shot put, UNI took four of the top five spots with Darius King taking second with a throw of 58-1.75. Isaac Holtz finished fourth and Tom Yezek took fifth.

Alanna Nietert was third in the weight throw with a toss of 61-2.

Connor Ham was fifth in the 60-meter hurdles, but his time of 8.07 is the top in the MVC to date.

The Panthers are back in action on Jan. 19 at the NDSU Invite in Fargo, N.D.

Karson Sommer-PV-Iowa
©Mike Byrnes 2018

Hawks Get 7 Wins at the Hawkeye Invite

Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa ©Brian Ray Hawkeye Sports

Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa
©Brian Ray Hawkeye Sports

University of Iowa track and field team won seven events at the Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday, adding to junior Laulauga Tausaga’s school record weight throw on Friday.

 Courtesy Hawkeye Sports, click here! Feature photo: Karson Sommer-PV-Iowa ©Mike Byrnes 2018

Tausaga picked up her second win in the shot put (16.02m, 52-6 3/4).

“I know there’s still more in the tank, especially after I saw my warmups,” Tausaga said. “I’m just trying to prepare for Big Ten Championships and get a spot on the NCAA qualifiers list.”

“I thought it was a great January opener,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woodysaid. “We had some great performances. We came out and had Laulauga in the weight throw break the school record and kept things going.

“In the men’s hurdles, Jaylan [McConico] had an excellent preliminary race, just pressed a little bit in the finals. Right now with his time, that should qualify him for the national race already. If he would have finished the race a little better on the last two hurdles, I think he’d be leading the nation right now. Definitely a good start to the season for him. We’re excited that he’s a part of our program. That was fun to see.

“I was proud of Payton Wensel today. She had a long day, running three races. She was runner-up in the 400 meters with a personal record, ran a near personal record in the 200 meters, and came back and had a great anchor leg in the relay.”

Five women’s track and field athletes and the 1,600-meter relay team won events at the Hawkeye Invitational.

The women tallied 10 personal bests:

The men added five personal bests:

The Hawkeyes host their third of four indoor home meets with the Larry Wieczorek Invitational on Jan. 18-19. Teams competing include Arizona, Baylor, Illinois, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, and Wisconsin. Admission is free.

Logan Schnneider-ISU
©Jim Kirby 2017

Cyclone Distance Crew Out For a Strong Start!

Gwynne Wright-Pekin-ISU ©Mike Brynes 2018

Gwynne Wright-Pekin-ISU
©Mike Brynes 2018

A sweep of the 1,000-meter run highlighted Iowa State’s day at the Hawkeye Invitational Saturday. Dan Curts and Jasmine Staebler got the wins on the day for the Cylones, while Logan Schneider put up an impressive performance in the 60-meter hurdles.

Courtesy Cyclone Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Logan Schnneider-ISU©Jim Kirby 2017


Dan Curts opened his indoor season with a victory, taking a hard-fought battle over Zack Penrod of Wichita State in the men’s 1,000m. Curts made his move to take the lead on his third of five laps but the Shockers’ Penrod was able to close late with a final lap of 28.64, but Curts was able to hang on for the victory. Milo Greder finished fourth in 2:28.62.

In the men’s 60-meter hurdles, Logan Schneider put up his second PR in as many meets, crossing the line in third with a 7.80. His time moves him up to No. 3 in Iowa State history for the event and, at the time of publication, sees him ranked at No. 6 in NCAA Division I for the event this season.

On the women’s side, Jasmine Staebler led a Cyclone 1-2-3 in the 1,000m with a wire-to-wire leading time of 2:53.02. Right behind her was Erinn Stenman-Fahey in 2:53.16, while Gwynne Wright got the win in heat two to finish third overall on 2:55.07.

Up Next
Iowa State will be back in Iowa City next weekend for the Larry Wieczorek Invitational. Competition will take place on Friday and Saturday.

Iowa State Results
60m Hurdles Prelims (M):
1. Jaylan McConico, Iowa – 7.73; 4. Logan Schneider, Iowa State – 7.95
60m Hurdles Prelims (W): 1. Jenny Kimbro, Iowa – 8.40; 2. Kaylyn Hall, Iowa State – 8.61; 6. Katarina Vlahovic, Iowa State – 8.88; 18. Emily Coghill, Iowa State – 9.28
400m Dash (M): 1. Evan Long, UNI – 48.10; 3. Roshon Roomes, Iowa State – 48.17; 13. Charlie Johnson, Iowa State – 50.93
400m Dash (W): 1. Maddie McCalla, UNI – 55.57; 3. Zakiyah Amos, Iowa State – 56.70
1,000m Run (M): 1. Dan Curts, Iowa State – 2:25.03; 4. Milo Greder, Iowa State – 2:28.62; 12. Cebastian Gentil, Iowa State – 2:39.14; 13. Zach Black, Iowa State – 2:40.48; Nate Kennedy, Iowa State – DNF
1,000m Run (W): 1. Jasmine Staebler, Iowa State – 2:53.02; 2. Erinn Stenman-Fahey, Iowa State – 2:53.16; 3. Gwynne Wright, Iowa State – 2:55.07; 5. Alexis Gourrier, Iowa State – 2:57.03; 7. Larkin Chapman, Iowa State – 3:01.66
60m Hurdles Final (M): 1. Aaron Mallett, Unattached – 7.63; 3. Logan Schneider, Iowa State – 7.80
60m Hurdles Final (W): 1. Jenny Kimbro, Iowa – 8.38; 2. Kaylyn Hall, Iowa State – 8.63; 5. Katarina Vlahovic, Iowa State – 8.91
600m Run (W): 1. Briana Guillory, Iowa – 1:30.92; 2. Sydney Milani, Iowa State – 1:33.68; 4. Emma Whigham, Iowa State – 1:35.29; 8. Laurel Hoogensen, Iowa State – 1:37.62
800m Run (W): 1. Grace McCabe, Iowa – 2:12.98; 8. Maggie Davis, Iowa State – 2:19.90; 9. Anna Herriott, Iowa State – 2:21.13; 14. Brina Kraft, Iowa State – 2:29.50
Mile Run (M): 1. Eldon Warner, South Dakota – 4:09.22; 9. Jared Schuckman, Iowa State – 4:16.88; 20. Thomas Pollard, Iowa State – 4:25.31
Mile Run (W): 1. Rebekah Topham, Wichita State – 4:53.06; 3. Karly Ackley, Iowa State – 4:55.56; 11. Morgan Gigandet, Iowa State – 5:08.43
200m Dash (M): 1. Kenny Bednarek, Indian Hills CC -20.60; 5. Gage Clay, Iowa State – 22.14
4x400m Relay (M): 1. UNI – 3:13.69; 2. Iowa State (Eric Fogltanz, Ben Kelly, Nate Kennedy, Roshon Roomes) – 3:14.86
4x400m Relay (W): 1. Iowa -3:45.73; 2. Iowa State (Emma Whigham, Zakiyah Amos, Laurel Hoogensen, Sydney Milani) – 3:45.90

Long Jump (M): 1. Rayvon Allen, Wichita State – 24-9 1/4 (7.55m); 8. Chandler Diercks, Iowa State – 23-0 3/4 (7.03m)

Jasmine Staebler-Clayton Ridge-ISU
©Darren Miller/

Cyclones Back in Action at Hawkeye Invitational

Gwynne Wrigh-Pekin-ISU ©Mike Byrnes 2018

Gwynne Wrigh-Pekin-ISU
©Mike Byrnes 2018

With the winter break over, the Iowa State track and field team is back in action this weekend at the Hawkeye Invitational on Saturday. Competition begins with field events at 10 a.m. and running events at 12:30 p.m. inside the UI Recreation Building.

Courtesy Cyclone Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Jasmine Staebler-Clayton Ridge-ISU ©Darren Miller/

A live stream of the running events will be shown via the subscription-based BTN Plus, here. Live results will be provided by Wayzata Results, here.

Saturday’s action will primarily be focused on the track, with 35 of ISU’s 36 entries coming in running events. On the men’s side, hurdlers Logan Schneider and Mason Weh got off to strong starts to their season in the 60-meter hurdles, both currently ranking in the top-8 of NCAA Division I. They will be back in the 60 hurdles this weekend, along with Eric Fogltanz. A strong group of middle distance runners are also entered to compete, with Roshon Roomes in the 400m, Zach Black and Dan Curts in the 1,000m and Thomas Pollard in the Mile.

On the women’s side, they are also bringing a strong middle distance group. Four-time All-American Jasmine Staebler will make her season debut in the 1,000m run, where she will be joined by ISU’s 2018 Big 12 Indoors 1-2 finishers in the 1,000 in Larkin Chapman and Erinn Stenman-Fahey, respectively. Karly Ackley and Abby Caldwell are entered to make season debuts in the mile.

Entries (as of Jan. 10, 7:54 PM)
200m Dash: Gage Clay
400m Dash: Charlie Johnson, Roshon Roomes
1,000m Run: Zach Black, Dan Curts, Cebastian Gentil, Milo Greder, Nate Kennedy
Mile Run: Thomas Pollard, Jared Schuckman
60m Hurdles: Eric Fogltanz, Logan Schneider, Mason Weh
4x400m Relay: Two Teams
Long Jump: Chandler Diercks

400m Dash: Zakiyah Amos
600m Run: Laurel Hoogensen, Sydney Milani, Emma Whigham
800m Run: Maggie Davis, Anna Herriott, Brina Kraft
1,000m Run: Larkin Chapman, Alexis Gourrier, Jasmine Staebler, Erinn Stenman-Fahey, Gwynne Wright
Mile Run: Karly Ackley, Abby Caldwell, Morgan Gigandet
60m Hurdles: Emily Coghill, Kaylyn Hall, Katarina Vlahovic
4x400m Relay: Two Teams

Iowa's Indoor Track
©Jack Rossi-Hawkeye

Hawks Set to Host Their Invitational

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa ©Darren Miller

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa
©Darren Miller

The University of Iowa track and field team opens 2019 hosting the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday and Saturday. The teams competing include Bradley, Indian Hills, Iowa Central, Iowa State, Loyola, Northern Iowa, South Dakota, and Wichita State. The meet begins Friday at 1 p.m. (CT) with the weight throw at the Hawkeye Tennis and Recreation Complex. Jumps begin at 10 a.m. (CT) on Saturday at the UI Rec Building. Running events start at 12:30 p.m. (CT) with the 60-meter hurdle preliminaries. A full schedule of events is located at Admission is free.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Iowa’s Indoor Track©Jack Rossi-Hawkeye


Fans can follow the meet on the live results page on Results will also be posted on the team’s official twitter account @iowaxc_tf and live video of the meet is available on BTN2Go.

The Hawkeyes opened the 2018-19 season in December for the first time ever, hosting the Jimmy Grant Invitational. The men earned wins in the 60 meters (Antonio Woodard, 6.88), 300 meters (Antonio Woodard, 32.89), 600 meters (Mar’yea Harris, 1:18.77), shot put (Reno Tuufuli, 18.04m), triple jump (James Carter, 14.53m), and 1,600-meter relay (Clarke, Lietz, Olson, Harris, 3:13.34).

The women added eight wins in the 60 meters (Antonise Christian, 7.64) 60-meter hurdles (Jenny Kimbro, 8.34), 500 meters (Daneisha Woodside, 1:17.03), 600 meters (Taylor Arco, 1:32.82), weight throw (Laulauga Tausaga, 20.19m), shot put (Laulauga Tausaga, 16.46m), and the 1,600-meter relay (Wensel, Woodside, Bruxvoort, Weum, 3:47.73).

Junior Laulauga Tausaga broke her previous school record in the weight throw (20.19m, 66-3), Antonio Woodard broke the UI Rec Building 300 meters record (32.89), and Jenny Kimbro improved to No. 3 on Iowa’s all-time top-10 list in the 60-meter hurdles (8.34).

Six Hawkeyes on the roster account for four indoor school records. They include:
Nathan Mylenek, Collin Hofacker, Carter Lilly, and Michael Melchert: distance medley relay (9:33.90)
Reno Tuufuli: shot put (19.28m)
Laulauga Tausaga: shot put (16.51m) and weight throw (20.19m)

UI Rec Building Record holder:
Antonio Woodard: 300 meters (32.89)

The Hawkeyes finished the 2018 indoor season with 14 All-America honors, the most in program history. Returning this season is first team All-American Briana Guillory (400 meters), and second team All-Americans Mar’yea Harris (400 meters, 1,600-meter relay), Chris Douglas (60-meter hurdles), Collin Hofacker (1,600-meter relay), and DeJuan Frye (1,600-meter relay). Guillory also earned second team honors in the 1,600-meter relay.

2018 All-Americans
First Team — Jahisha Thomas (LJ, TJ), Briana Guillory (400 meters)
Second Team — Mar’yea Harris (400 meters, 1,600-meter relay), Chris Douglas (60-meter hurdles), Collin Hofacker (1,600-meter relay), DeJuan Frye (1,600-meter relay), Bradford Garron (1,600-meter relay), Sheridan Champe (1,600-meter relay), Brittany Brown (200 meters, 1,600-meter relay), Sarah Plock (1,600-meter relay), Briana Guillory (1,600-meter relay)

Senior Briana Guillory won gold in the 1,600-meter relay for Team USA at the 2018 North America, Central America, and Caribbean Championships in Toronto, Canada. Guillory ran the first leg, while Jasmine Blocker of Tulane University, Kiana Horton of Baylor University and Courtney Okolo of the University of Texas finished the race in 3:26.08.

At the 2018 Indoor Big Ten Championships, Nathan Mylenek, Chris Thompson, Carter Lilly, and Michael Melchert impressed with a come-from-behind win as Melchert passed five teams in the home stretch to earn the Hawkeyes first ever conference title in the event.

Senior Briana Guillory earned her first Big Ten Indoor title at the 2018 conference championships in the 400 meters (52.08).

The Hawkeyes return 13 athletes who ranked in the Big Ten top five in 2018. Briana Guillory and Mar’yea Harris placed in the top five in multiple events.
Briana Guillory: 400 meters (1st), 200 meters (2nd), 1,600-meter relay (3rd)
Carter Lilly: distance medley relay (1st)
Michael Melchert: distance medley relay (1st)
Nathan Mylenek: distance medley relay (1st)
Chris Thompson: distance medley relay (1st)
Mar’yea Harris: 400 meters (2nd), 1,600-meter relay (3rd)
Reno Tuufuli: shot put (2nd)
Dejuan Frye: 1,600-meter relay (3rd)
Collin Hofacker: 1,600-meter relay (3rd)
Chris Douglas: 60-meter hurdles (4th)
Jenny Kimbro: pentathlon (4th)
Tria Simmons: pentathlon (5th)
Tysen VanDraska: 800 meters (5th)

Iowa returns four athletes that finished the 2018 indoor season inside the country’s top 10. Briana Guillory finished 2018 fifth in the country in the 400 meters (52.08), and Collin Hofacker, DeJuan Frye, and Mar’yea Harris were 10th in the 1,600-meter relay (3:05.33).

Iowa returns three NCAA top 10 athletes from the outdoor season. Laulauga Tausagaranked seventh in discus (59.86m),  Mar’yea Harris ranked eighth in the 400 meters (44.98), and Reno Tuufuli ranked ninth in discus (60.87m).

The men have 17 current athletes in Iowa’s indoor all-time top 10 (46 times), led by school-record holders Mar’yea Harris, (400-meters, 1,600-meter relay), Carter Lilly(800-meters, Distance medley relay), Reno Tuufuli (shot put) DeJuan Frye (1,600-meter relay), Collin Hofacker (1,600-meter relay, distance medley relay), Nathan Mylenek(distance medley relay), and Michael Melchert (distance medley relay).

The women have 11 athletes in the top 10 (19 times). Laulauga Tausaga holds the school records in the shot put (16.51m) and weight throws (20.03m).

The Hawkeyes host their third of four indoor home meets in January with the Larry Wieczorek Invitational on Jan. 18-19. Teams competing include Arizona, Baylor, Illinois, Iowa State, Minnesota, Missouri, Purdue, and Wisconsin.

isu xc course

Plenty of Iowans Are Part of Cyclones’ Recruiting Class

Iowa State Cyclones ISUThe Iowa State cross country/track and field program made 10 additions during the Fall signing period over the past month, director of Men’s and Women’s Track and Cross Country Martin Smith announced on Monday.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletics, click here! Feature photo: ©Cyclones Athletics 2017


Chase McAlister – Lake City, Iowa
McCalister joins the Cyclones from South Central Calhoun High School, where he was the Class 2A runner-up at 800 meters in a personal best 1:56.51. He also qualified for the 2018 state meet in the 400-meter dash and in the sprint medley relay and distance medley relay, the later of which he helped SCCHS finish third.

McAlister is a four-sport star, as he adds to his track and field accomplishments with all-district honors in football and baseball and a sections qualifier in wrestling.

Matthew Meinke – Neenah, Wisconsin
Meinke, ranked No. 20 on the MileSplit 50, has posted consecutive third-place finishes at the WIAA Division 1 Cross Country State Championships, the latter of which helped lead his Neehan squad to a state title.

A two-time Fox Valley Association cross country champion, Meinke finished second at 3,200 in a PR of 9:06.62 at the track and field state championships last season before taking sixth in the 5,000 at New Balance Nationals. Meinke boasts a PR of 14:50.10 at 5K.

Chase Mullenix – Atlantic, Iowa
Mullenix was one of the stars of the Iowa State Track & Field Championships this past spring, racking up four state titles for Atlantic, including the 800-meters which he got in a personal best 1:55.38.

Mullenix, whose parents both ran track at UNI, played five sports in high school. Along with track, he has earned All-State honors in football, All-Conference honors in baseball and basketball and is a member of Atlantic’s wrestling team.

Joe Schaefer – Johnston, Iowa
Schaefer racked up three top-five finishes at the 2018 Iowa High School State Track meet, finishing fourth in the Class 4A 800 at 1:54.55. A couple of weeks after wrapping up his season with the Dragons, Schaefer finished eighth in the 800 at the Festival of Miles in St. Louis.

Tim Sindt – Ankeny, Iowa
Sindt is the champion of the past two Iowa High School Class 4A state championships, including an undefeated senior campaign. Sindt’s outstanding final season at Ankeny included him breaking Iowa’s all-time mark for a 5K cross country run, going 14:51.50 at Ankeny Centennial on Oct. 4.

On the track, Sindt finished second at 1,600m (4:18.70) and third at 3,200m (9:19.38) with a pair of personal bests at the Class 4A state championships back in May.

Bria Barnes – Elkins Park, Pennsylvania
Barnes is a state champion sprinter for Cheltenham High School, where she was a member of CHS’ state title winning 4x100m relay last season. She also picked up a Penn Relays title as part of the 4×100 squad.

Injuries prevented Barnes from showing her strength in the hurdles last season, as she boasts a personal best of 1:00.48 from her sophomore track season in the 400-meter hurdles.

Grace Dickel – Minneapolis, Minnesota
Dickel wrapped up her senior cross country season with a sixth place finish at the Minnesota State Cross Country Championships, and spending the entirety of her senior campaign ranked No. 6 in the Class AA rankings.

On the track, Dickel finished third at 3,200m at the Minnesota High School State Championships as a junior, clocking a personal best 10:48.28 in the process.

Dana Feyen – Galesville, Wisconsin
Feyen has had a decorated prep career at Gale-Ettrick-Trempealeau High School. Her senior season of cross country saw her finish second at the State XC Meet, and win the state titles in 2016 and 2017. She was a four-time conference and sectional champion in XC.

On the track, Feyen is the two-time defending state champion at 3,200m (PR: 10:36.06) and won the 1,600m (PR: 5:00.20) after finishing second as a junior and third as a sophomore. She has five conference titles across 1,600/3,200m.

Madelynn Hill – Liberty, Missouri
Hill wrapped up her junior season of track and field with a pair of fifth place finishes at 800m (2:15.83) and 1,600m (5:05.45), and a third place finish leading off the 4x400m relay at the state championships. She also won her conference titles at those distances, plus 3,200m (11:21.63).

At the Festival of Miles to close out her season, she went under five minutes in the mile, clocking in at 4:57.49.

Janette Schraft – Malvern, Iowa
Schraft, now at Glenwood after spending her first three high school seasons at East Mills, began her tenure with the Rams in the Fall by claiming the 3A cross country state championship.

At East Mills, Schraft racked up seven state titles on the track, including 2018’s Class 1A crowns at 800, 1,500 and the 400 hurdles. In the summer, Schraft won the USATF Junior Olympics crown for the 17-18 Division 2,000-meter steeplechase.

Diavonte Smith-UNI @Panthers Athletics 2018

Panthers Add New Sprints and Hurdles Coach

Diavonte Smith-UNI @Panthers Athletics 2018

Diavonte Smith-UNI @Panthers Athletics 2018

UNI track and field head coach Dave Paulson announced the addition of Diavonte Smith to the UNI coaching staff where he will coach sprints and hurdles.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo:  Diavonte Smith-UNI @Panthers Athletics 2018
“We are excited to welcome Diavonte and his family to the Cedar Falls,” head coach Dave Paulson said.  “His commitment to the student-athletes both on and off the track fits our mission of developing well-rounded individuals and the environment he creates in practice will push our sprints and hurdles crew to a higher level.”
Smith comes to UNI after a year-long stint as a volunteer assistant at Texas Tech. The Red Raiders finished fifth in the 2018 Men’s NCAA Outdoor Championship and sixth in the 2018 Men’s NCAA Indoor Championship. He coached the 2018 NCAA 200m National Champion Divine Oduduru. He also mentored six NCAA Big 12 Champions and six NCAA West Regional Qualifiers.
Prior to his time at Texas Tech, he worked as a volunteer assistant for Central Michigan. He coached two athletes that earned All-Conference MAC honors and two school records were set under his tutelage.
Prior to his time as a coach at Central Michigan, he was a two-time All-MAC performer for the Chippewas. He qualified for the 2013 NCAA East Regional in the long jump.
“His experience as a student-athlete at Central Michigan and his time at Texas Tech will be big for our athletes,” Paulson said. “He knows they operate at the highest level and how to create a really competitive environment at practice and push our sprinters and hurdlers to the next level.”
Smith is joined in Cedar Falls by his wife and two children. It was important for Smith in his transition to find a place that his family would feel welcome.
“UNI reminds me a lot of Central Michigan,” Smith said. “Cedar Falls has a comfortable feel to it which is exciting for our family. I love the smaller school. It is a great opportunity to help UNI get to the next level and that was really appealing to me.”
In his short time on campus, he has already seen the potential for great things from the sprinters and hurdlers on the roster.
“We have a really hungry group of athletes,” Smith said. “They know where they are at, and they know where they want to get. I am excited to help them reach their goals and get on the podium, starting at conference and advancing to the regionals and the NCAA Championship.”
The Panthers are off for winter break but resume the indoor season on Jan. 12, at the Iowa Invite in Iowa City.
Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa
©Brian Ray Hawkeye Sports

Hawks’ Wensel Makes Immediate Impact

Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa ©Brian Ray Hawkeye Sports

Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa
©Brian Ray Hawkeye Sports

Junior Laulauga Tausaga opened the University of Iowa track and field indoor season with a school record and win in the weight throw (20.19m, 66′ 3″), and junior Antonio Woodard set the UI Rec Building record to win the 300 meters (32.89) at the Jimmy Grant Invitational on Saturday.

Courtesy Hawkeye Sports, click here! Feature photo:Payton Wensel-Lin Mar-Iowa©Brian Ray Hawkeye Sports

“Lauga seems to break the school record in every meet,” Iowa head coach Joey Woodysaid. “She’s keeping the same trend going as she did last year. She’s one of the biggest leaders on the team, not just with her performances, but she’s also a great leader, very charismatic person. It’s fun to see her have some success.

“Then seeing Antonio go out and have a great meet today, he’s a guy that continues to work hard and is dedicated and focused on training, and taking care of his body. It was fun to watch him run back-to-back 60 meters and come back to break the track record.”

The event was the first December competition that the Hawkeyes have hosted, and success was around every turn.

“It was a long day, but it was fun,” Woody said. “This is the first time we’ve ever had the Jimmy Grant Invitational. It’s exciting to honor our former coach Jimmy Grant. We came away with some great performances.”

Tausaga and Woodard added two more wins in the shot put (16.46m, 54′ 0″) and 60 meters (6.88), respectively.

“I know there is a lot more in the tank,” Tausaga said. “Practices have been going very well, and Coach [Eric Werskey] wanted us to start off like we never ended the last season. To come out, PR, and break the school record was amazing and it just sets me up for some damage that can help the team.”

Woodard added similar thoughts.

“I can’t complain, it was a pretty good day,” he said. “I was a little tired going into the 300 meters, but I was like ‘I’m just going to lay it all out there and forget about what I’m feeling right now. This is bigger than what I’m feeling right now. This is the home track. Everyone’s watching.’ I wanted to do what I could and make my team and coaches proud.”

Eight more Hawkeyes earned wins, including Jenny Kimbro with the third fastest 60-meter hurdles time (8.34) in Iowa history, Reno Tuufuli in the shot put (18. 04m, 59′ 2 1/4″), Taylor Arco (1:32.82) and Mar’yea Harris (1:18.77) in the men’s and women’s 600 meters, Daneisha Woodside in the 500 meters (1:17.03), Antonise Christian in the 60 meters (7.64), and James Carter (14.53m, 47′ 8″) and Hannah Schlib (12.10m, 39′ 8 1/2″) in the triple jump.

The 1,600-meter relay teams including Raymund Clarke, Austin Leitz, Tyler Olson, and Mar’yea Harris (3:13.34) for the men, and Payton Wensel, Daneisha Woodside, Mariel Bruxvoort, and Aly Weum (3:47.73) added two more wins for Iowa.

“We expect to compete at a high level, especially when we’re at home,” Woody said. “We want to win every race. It doesn’t matter if it’s heat one, two, three or four. I just want my athletes, when they’re going head-to-head, to win their event, win their heat, their flight, or whatever because that’s how they are going to continue to grow.”

The success continued for the team with nine Hawkeyes setting career bests. Tausaga, Arco and Kimbro’s wins in the weight throw, 600 meters, and 60-meter hurdles earned their top marks. Additional career bests came from Josh Braverman in the 60-meter hurdles, Tia Saunders (1:33.30), Alexis Gay (1:37.72), Lindsay Welker (1:38.57), and Matt Manternach (1:18.79) in the 600 meters, and Macie Weber in the 1,000 meters (3:00.83).

The Hawkeyes return to the UI Rec Building January 11-12 to host the Hawkeye Invitational.

Iowa Men's Cross Country
©Brian Ray/ 2018

It’s Been a Long Road to Nats For Hawk’s Mylenek: By Darren Miller

 Nathan Mylenek-Iowa ©Brian Ray/ 2018

Nathan Mylenek-Iowa
©Brian Ray/ 2018

Nathan Mylenek ran in high school to stay in shape for soccer. He will run Saturday to become a collegiate All-American.

Courtesy, click here! Feature photo: Iowa Men’s Cross Country ©Brian Ray/

Mylenek, a junior from Clarkston, Michigan, is the first University of Iowa men’s cross country runner to qualify for the NCAA Championships since Jeff Thode in 2011. He did so by finishing third at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 9 in Peoria, Illinois, the best placing by a Hawkeye since Micah VanDened won in 2006.

In other words, Mylenek has come a long way since his prep days as a soccer player running for fitness.

“I would love to be an All-American,” he said. “If the race runs right and I’m feeling good, I think the top 40 is reasonable. But this meet is elite. If I could crack the top 100, that would be impressive.”

Then Mylenek quickly offered a disclaimer.

“I don’t race to be top 100, I want to win,” he said. “I will put myself into position to win whether or not I have a shot.”

The evolution of Mylenek as an elite Division I distance runner is remarkable. Primarily a soccer player at Pontiac Notre Dame High School, his final three seasons he joined the cross country team once soccer season ended. Still, in three trips to the Michigan High School Athletic Association Division 2 state championships, he had finishes of 21st, fifth, and third.

“My senior year I was doing a double sport, so they moved the soccer times,” Mylenek said. “I would run after school, have an hour break, and then go to soccer practice. I did that for an entire year and it was awesome.”

In the summer of 2015, before his senior year of high school, Mylenek competed in AAU track and field meets. The steeplechase was an option, so in typical Mylenek fashion he thought, why not? He became a Junior Olympic All-American in the 1,500-meter run and the 2,000 steeplechase.

Mylenek, who began his career at Iowa as a walk-on, really broke through in running circles during his sophomore season at Iowa in 2017-18. He was the top Hawkeye in five of six cross country competitions and set the school 10K cross country record of 29:53.15 at the Midwest Regional in Ames, Iowa. At the Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships in May, Mylenek finished third in the 3,000 steeplechase and fifth in the 5,000 run.

He hasn’t slowed since.

Mylenek led the Hawkeyes in the three most recent races this fall: Wisconsin Pre-Nationals, Big Ten, and Midwest Regional.

Typically not one to fret before a race, Mylenek admitted to having a few butterflies at regionals until he stepped to the starting line.

“Normally I’m never nervous or worried,” he said. “So when the starter blew the whistle, I put my toe on the line and I was ready.”

Mylenek and Iowa head coach Randy Hasenbank anticipated a slower pace because of cool temperatures and a muddy course. They were right. Mylenek led the first half of the 10 kilometer race and stayed within striking distance, even after Iowa State junior Edwin Kurgat and Oklahoma State freshman Isai Rodriquez passed.

“What he did the other day was pretty difficult because he is used to doing short, fast stuff — miles and steeplechase, where you have to be aggressive,” Hasenbank said. “To see him execute 10,000 meters with a couple of the best guys in the entire country was exciting to watch.

“We talk about developing your skillset as a distance runner. When you step on the line, you like to believe that your tool kit is as good as anyone’s. You’re the fastest 800 guy, you’re pretty solid at 10,000 meters, and your specialty is somewhere in between.”

Only six Hawkeyes have run to All-America status in cross country. The first was Deacon Jones in 1957 and the most recent was Thode in 2010. Former coach Larry Wieczorek (1966-67) and Kevin Herd (1992-93) did it twice.

The men’s 10K at the NCAA Championships begins Saturday at 11:45 a.m. (CT) on the Zimmer Championship Course in Madison, Wisconsin. Runners who finish in the top 40 earn All-America accolades.

“I’m hoping we run through 5K at a good clip and then that’s when the race really starts,” Mylenek said. “If that happens, I think I have a good shot to do what I want to do…if not better.”

1985 ISU Women's Cross Country Team
©Cyclones Athletics

Memory of the 1985 ISU XC Team: Tami Prescott

Tami Prescott-ISU along with Jim Kirby

Tami Prescott-ISU along with Jim Kirby

Every year around this time, members of the ISU family pause to remember the events surrounding the 1985 NCAA National Cross Country Championships.  What should have been a time of joy, success and love, turned into a tragic day that shocked anyone connected with collegiate cross country and the Cyclone Community. It was a day when we lost so much.

Feature photo:1985 ISU Women’s Cross Country Team©Cyclones Athletics


A small tribute marks the site of the plane crash of one of the planes carrying some of the 1985 ISU Cross Country Team ©Jim Kirby 2017

A small tribute marks the site of the plane crash of one of the planes carrying some of the 1985 ISU Cross Country Team
©Jim Kirby 2017

In 2016, Next Level Iowa sat down with Tami Prescott, a member of that 1985 team, and we talked about the people and the events of that tragic day. Here is that interview with Tami Prescott recorded November 20, 2015

(interview begins at 1:00 in)