Track faces tough Razorback field

Iowa+hurdler+Aaron+Mallett+sprints+towards+the+finish+in+the+men%27s+110+meter+hurdles+during+the+Musco+Twilight+at+the+Cretzmeyer+Track+on+Saturday%2C+May+2%2C+2015.+Mallett+won+the+event+with+a+time+of+13.69.+The+Iowa+Track+and+Field+team+won+seven+events+during+the+meet.+%28The+Daily+Iowan%2FJohn+Theulen%29
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Track faces tough Razorback field

Iowa hurdler Aaron Mallett sprints towards the finish in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the Musco Twilight at the Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Mallett won the event with a time of 13.69. The Iowa Track and Field team won seven events during the meet. (The Daily Iowan/John Theulen)

Iowa hurdler Aaron Mallett sprints towards the finish in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the Musco Twilight at the Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Mallett won the event with a time of 13.69. The Iowa Track and Field team won seven events during the meet. (The Daily Iowan/John Theulen)

Iowa hurdler Aaron Mallett sprints towards the finish in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the Musco Twilight at the Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Mallett won the event with a time of 13.69. The Iowa Track and Field team won seven events during the meet. (The Daily Iowan/John Theulen)

Iowa hurdler Aaron Mallett sprints towards the finish in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the Musco Twilight at the Cretzmeyer Track on Saturday, May 2, 2015. Mallett won the event with a time of 13.69. The Iowa Track and Field team won seven events during the meet. (The Daily Iowan/John Theulen)

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The Iowa men’s and women’s track and field teams will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas, today to face some of the toughest competition so far this season.

On the men’s side in the Razorback Invitational, nine teams rank in the top 25, including the top three in the country. The women’s competition includes seven ranked opponents, also with the top three teams.

Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody believes the teams are up to the challenge.

“This weekend is one of the biggest meets in the country,” he said. “It’s going to be definitely an eye-opener for a lot of our athletes. We just [need to] keep focusing on ourselves and where we’re at as a program and continue to progress.”

In the Hawkeyes’ previous meet, the Big Four Duals in Ames, the men’s team finished second behind Iowa State, beating Northern Iowa and Drake. The women tied Northern Iowa, defeated Drake, but could not top Iowa State. Overall, Iowa won nine events.

Woody thought the Big Four meet was a step in the right direction.

“I thought we handled ourselves really well on the track,” he said. “We are starting to put some [positive] things together in the field events.”

The women’s team will need to rely on its strong sprinting group to keep pace with this weekend’s stellar competition.

Junior Elexis Guster, one of those sprinters, is the defending 400-meter champion and has the fastest conference time in the women’s 400 meters following a first-place finish at the Big 4 on Jan. 23. Her time of 54.21 is 17th nationally.

“Our returning Big Ten champion Elexis Guster has been running really well up to this point,” Woody said.

In order to balance the scoring, some other athletes will need to step up. That help could come from the distance team. The main distance runner is sophomore Madison Waymire, who was the top cross-country runner in the fall and finished in the top five at the Big 4.

“Individually, I would like to run a fast time and score high so that I can put some team points on the board and help contribute to the overall team score,” she said.

For the men’s sprints, a young, fresh group is off to a fast start. O’Shea Wilson ran the sixth-fastest time in the 60 meters earlier this season (6.76). But up until this point, the freshmen have stolen the show.

Entering his fourth meet in his Hawkeye career, Christian Brissett commands sixth place all-time on Iowa’s 200 meters.

“I just want to get better every week,” he said. “Every meet I want to shave off [time]. In the 60, I want to shave off at least 0.02 each race. In the 200, I want to run like 20.90 or 21.00.”

One of the other Hawkeyes dominating the competition is junior Aaron Mallett. The All-American has yet to lose a 60-meter hurdles this season and has ran both the second and third best times of his career this season.

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