DES MOINES — The Iowa men’s track and field team got off to a slow start in its first day at the relays, with only two athletes moving on to finals.
Things actually started for the Hawkeyes on Thursday, as redshirt freshman Ben Anderson competed in men’s 5,000-meter race and ran a personal best time of 14:28.84, finishing 14th. Sophomore Daniel Huff also competed in the race, crossing the line in 14:48.72 to finish 18th.
The men’s 6,400-meter relay of seniors Kevin Lewis and Ben Witt, sophomore Michael l Hart, and redshirt junior Sam Fourman finished 11th with a time of 16:58.44. Their mark is third on Iowa’s all-time list.
Today, sophomore Aaron Mallett opened up big for Iowa as he finished second in the men’s 100-hurdles prelims with a time of 14.05. Mallett will compete tomorrow at 2:24.
“The race wasn’t too bad,” Mallett said. “I just wanted to come out and execute my race and make the final. I didn’t really want to do anything time wise.”
The St. Louis native is hoping to come on top tomorrow in the finals, despite the competition he will face. One athlete in particular he will be facing is Omar McLeod, who had the top time in today’s prelim, and is an NCAA indoor champion.
“I think it would be really great to win a Drake Relays flag,” Mallett said. “This is my second time being here and I’ve never got one so to hopefully win one in an Iowa uniform would be great.”
Another athlete who will compete in the finals tomorrow is sophomore Vinnie Saucer. Saucer competed in the men’s 100-meter dash with a time of 10.76 and finished ninth.
Both relay squads of the men’s 4×100 and 4×400 didn’t finish with times to qualify for the finals tomorrow. The 4X100 squad of Saucer, Mallett, and juniors Brendan Thompson, Keith Brown finished ninth with a time of 40.61. The 4X400 squad of Mitch Wolff, Mallet, Nicholas Aly, and Brennan Davey finished tenth with a time of 3:08.76.
Despite the 4X1 squad not qualifying, Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody still has confidence that his sprinters will succeed for the remainder of the outdoor season. The 4X400 squad ran its second-fastest time of the outdoor season and Woody also believes that squad is capable of running a time close to 3:06 when championship season comes around.
“I wasn’t super disappointed,” Woody said. “I was happy we got the baton around. I know we can run faster in the next couple of weeks.”
The Hawkeyes ended on a positive note when the 4X800 squad of Carter Lilly, Ryan Dorman, Will Teubel, and Davey stepped foot on the blue oval. The quartet finished fourth with a time of 7:31.48.
Iowa assistant coach Jason Wakenight enjoyed watching his sprinters’ performance. In fact, Wakenight made a last minute decision to have this relay.
“I was so ecstatic,” he said. “For us to hang on that long was exciting. I enjoyed it.”
Day two of the Drake Relays will resume tomorrow at 8:30 a.m.