There was standing room only inside the UI Recreation building as Hawkeye fans watched some of the best collegiate and professional track and field athletes set top times in the NCAA and world on Saturday during the final day of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.
Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Ryan Dorian-City and Iowa and Tysen VanDraska-CR Prairie-Iowa ©Mike Brynes 2017
Junior Mar’yea Harris made a statement in two events on Saturday. The Auburn, Washington, native set the seventh best time in the world this year in the 400 meters alongside Nike athlete and NCAA 400 meter record holder Fred Kerley and AJ Bailey of Altis (46.50). Harris also ran the final leg of the men’s 4×400 meter relay premier, winning the race in the final feet with a closeout that rocked the UI recreation building.
Harris finished third in the 400 meters, but saw it going a little differently in his head.
“I am happy I opened up with a 46.5, but I am also really happy because I know I could have won the race,” Harris said. “I was coming at the end and if I didn’t get boxed out then I could have passed Bailey.”
“I didn’t expect Bailey to come out so hard so that made me adjust my running,” he said. “I have a small body compared to those other guys. Fred is much bigger than me, so once I saw Fred coming down hill at me I thought I had to settle in otherwise he was going to crash me and I would be stuck.”
Junior Briana Guillory set a personal best in the 400 meter premier. She finished second behind Nike athlete Georganne Moline. Guillory’s 52.95 is a personal best by almost two seconds and is first in the country entering the weekend.
You can’t say enough about the type of athlete Briana is,” UI director of track and field Joey Woody said. “She is going to be scaring a lot of people when we get closer to the national meet.”
QUOTING COACH WOODY
“After what Briana (Guillory) did this weekend, I can assure you that we will be one of the teams at the national level that will be competing for a top ten spot,” Woody said. “Briana is phenomenal. When you have talent like Briana, Brittany (Brown), and Jahisha (Thomas), who hasn’t done much yet, I mean, those girls are monsters along with Lagi (Tausaga).
Senior Will Dougherty reset his own school record in the heptathlon with 5,572 points. He is now fifth in the NCAA, surpassing his previous record of 5,502 points. Dougherty defeated 2016 Olympian Zach Ziemek.
“Zach is a great competitor and I’ve competed against him at nationals so it was good to have someone there to push you,” Dougherty said. “I had an idea (that I could make an all-time mark) after the first day. I crunched the numbers and found out that I was about 50 points ahead of my previous PR. I knew if I put together an OK day then I’ll break the record.”
HAWKEYE FLYING OBJECTS
Sophomore Laulauga Tausaga broke a shot put school record that has stood since 1985. Tausaga threw 15.87 meters (52 feet, 1 inch) in the shot put to break Gail Smith’s record. Tausaga finished fifth in the event.
- Chris Douglas set a personal best in the men’s 60 meter hurdles with a time of 7.60. He improves to third all-time in program history and fifth in the country heading into the weekend.
- Tysen VanDraska won the men’s 800 meter premier with a personal best time of 1:52.40.
- Addie Swanson set a personal best in the 400 meters with a time of 57.60.
- Guillory split 51.04 during the women’s 4×400 meter relay.
The Iowa men won the men’s team title with 143.5 points and the LSU women won the women’s team title with 114 points.
The Hawkeyes return for their third straight and final indoor home meet of the season on Jan. 26-27.