Relay flashes record time


Iowa runner Brendan Thompson hands the baton off to Keith Brown in the men's 4x200 meter relay at Drake Stadium on Friday, April 25, 2014. (The Daily Iowan/Joshua Housing)

In only their second meet of the year, the Florida Relays on April 2, the Hawkeyes tore down a school record in the 800-meter relay, an event Iowa does not normally compete in.

Brendan Thompson, Christian Brissett, James Harrington, and Jared Ganschow finished with a time of 1:23.36, elevating the four to the top of the program charts. The previous record was 1:24.85 and was set in 2009.

“It was a big accomplishment,” Thompson said. “It’s been my goal for a while to get on the record board and to finally achieve that was great. Two years ago at the Drake Relays, with two different people, we came 1/100th of a second away from tying it, so I knew we had a chance this time around.”

Their time was a pleasant surprise for Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody.

“It was something we weren’t really thinking about,” he said. “Early in the season, when you have relay meets like this, it gives you an opportunity to get your athletes out there and get more quality repetitions.”

While speed is the name of the game in a sprint relay, the little things are just as important.

Handoffs, for example, can make or break a relay team. Woody believes the main component for the Hawkeye’s fast time was just that.

“We had pretty good handoffs,” Woody said. “We don’t really work on the 4×2 exchange very often because we only run it once or twice a year.”

Each runner competed in other events besides the record-breaking relay.

Thompson noted that while he was elated to have set a school record, he couldn’t let that distract him from unfinished business.

“It was kind of a moment of relief, pride, and satisfaction,” he said. “I saw the time and knew we had crushed the record. But I also had to make sure I didn’t get too ahead of myself because I had the 4×400 shortly thereafter.”

Aside from the 4×400, Thomson also competed in Iowa’s 4×100 relay.

Coming off of a meet in which he was named the Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week, Brissett was Iowa’s top runner in the 100 meters (26th place in 10.43 seconds) and the second man in the 4×100 relay that finished 14th.

Harrington placed fourth in the 200 meters, shaving off time since his last outing.

“That was the second time James has ran the 200, and he improved by half a second,” Woody said. “I think he’s just getting fitter and fitter and more race-sharp every time every time he competes.”

He also competed in the 4×100 and 100 meters.

Ganschow competed in the 400 meters (40th, 48.55 seconds), the “B” 4×100 relay, and the “B” 4×400.

“Jared ran like [four] races this weekend,” Woody said. “Now we don’t have to do quite as much in our training because he’s got that quality work in. Now it’s just a matter of tuning up for the next meet.”

Fans won’t get to see Iowa’s 4×200 group till the end of April, but Woody thinks there could be big things to come by that time.

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