April 25, 2014
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The University of Iowa track and field team qualified three individuals and three relay teams for event finals at the Drake Relays on Friday.
The Hawkeye women kicked off the day winning their 400-meter relay heat. The team of sophomore Lake Kwaza, freshman Elexis Guster, sophomore MonTayla Holder, and freshman Brittany Brown clocked a 44.85. The quartet will compete in the finals tomorrow at 3:15 p.m. (CT).
"The passes were okay," said Brown. We could get out a little better, but we got in the finals. Tomorrow is going to be close with Ohio State."
The men's 400-meter relay team also qualified for the event finals. Senior Tevin-Cee Mincy, freshman O'Shea Wilson, and sophomores Brendan Thompson and James Harrington crossed the line in 40.20. The men's final is set for tomorrow at 3:30 p.m. (CT).
The women's 1,600-meter relay prelim proved to be a thriller. Guster and freshmen Mahnee Watts and Alexis Hernandez passed the baton to Kwaza with a lead. Kwaza then fought off Iowa State's surge around the final turn and pulled away in the final 100 meters to win the heat for the Hawkeyes. The team posted a 3:36.09, a time that ranks third all-time at Iowa. The 1,600-meter relay is set for tomorrow at 3:45 p.m. (CT).
"When I got the baton I was just thinking `run Lake,'" said Kwaza. "Win our heat and get to the finals. That's all I was thinking. We won the race, so now we build off that and go out and compete tomorrow."
Three Hawkeyes qualified for the 100-meter finals. Kwaza (11.66) and Brown (11.69) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the women's 100 meters. Kwaza posted a season-best time of 11.66, while Brown's personal-best time of 11.69 ranks ninth all-time at Iowa. The duo moves on to the event finals tomorrow at 2:15 p.m. (CT).
"It wasn't my best race," said Brown. It wasn't very technical. I can work on my start, but I finished well. Tomorrow I plan to be more technical and work on my drive phase. We'll see how it goes."
Freshman O'Shea Wilson won his heat with a personal-best time of 10.48. Wilson moves on to the event finals tomorrow at 2:20 p.m. (CT).
"I stumbled out of the blocks, but generally I felt good," said Wilson. I finished well so I'm proud of the race."
The men's 800-meter relay team grabbed a fourth-place finish. The team of Harrington, Thompson, junior Kaleb VanCleave, and freshman Aaron Mallett clocked a 1:24.86, the second fastest time in school history.
The women's 3,200-meter relay team of freshman Katharina Trost, junior Shannon Maser, senior Adrianne Alexia, and sophomore Kaitlyn Nelson crossed the line in 8:49.95. Their time ranks fourth all-time at Iowa.
Wilson earned a fifth-place finish in the men's long jump. The freshman recorded a leap of 24-8 ½ (7.53m). Seniors Carisa Leacock (19-8; 5.99m) and Zinnia Miller (19-4 ¾; 5.91m) finished seventh and ninth, respectively, in the women's long jump.
Sophomore Dakotah Goodell recorded a personal-best mark to finish fifth in the women's discus. Her toss of 163-3 (49.76m) ranks second all-time at Iowa. Senior Courtney Fritz recorded a personal-best in the women's shot put. Her toss of 46-6 ¼ (14.18m) earned her a 15th-place finish and ranks ninth all-time at Iowa.
"We need to reach that next echelon," said director of track and field Larry Wieczorek. "We have a number of finalists competing tomorrow who have a chance to do some good things. The Drake Relays crowd wants to cheer for the Hawkeyes. Now it's up to us to make that happen."
The Drake Relays resume Saturday at 8:00 a.m. (CT).