Men’s track heads for the desert

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Men’s track heads for the desert

Iowa thrower Reno Tuufuli warms up at practice with shot put in the Recreation Building on Monday, March 28, 2016. Tuufuli placed fifth in shot put in the indoor Big Ten Championships this year. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Iowa thrower Reno Tuufuli warms up at practice with shot put in the Recreation Building on Monday, March 28, 2016. Tuufuli placed fifth in shot put in the indoor Big Ten Championships this year. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Iowa thrower Reno Tuufuli warms up at practice with shot put in the Recreation Building on Monday, March 28, 2016. Tuufuli placed fifth in shot put in the indoor Big Ten Championships this year. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

Iowa thrower Reno Tuufuli warms up at practice with shot put in the Recreation Building on Monday, March 28, 2016. Tuufuli placed fifth in shot put in the indoor Big Ten Championships this year. (The Daily Iowan/Margaret Kispert)

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The Hawkeye track and field team will travel southwest for the Jim Click Shootout in Tucson, Arizona. With competition startingon Saturday, the men’s team will try to add to its successful start in the outdoor season in its first team-scored event.

As the outdoor season has opened, redshirt freshman Reno Tuufuli has thrown his way to the top of the country.

At the Florida Relays last weekend, Tuufuli threw a distance of 60.71 meters in the discus on the final day of competition. That mark elevated him to fourth all-time in Hawkeye history, fifth nationally, and the No. 1 freshman in the country.

He was not the only athlete to put his name in the record books.

Iowa’s 800-meter relay of Brendan Thompson, Christian Brissett, James Harrington, and Jared Ganschow broke the school record, running a time of 1:23.36.

“We’ve all been running pretty well this year,” Thompson said. “Jared has made some huge strides in the 400. Christian and James have been great in the short sprints. We all trusted one another to do their part to put us in a position to win.”

Ganschow echoed that, noting that setting a mark such as that can boost his confidence.

“[I’ll] just keep pushing myself to my best, stay[ing] hungry for the next event that I have,” he said. “Also, I am going to keep taking advantages of the opportunities that I get and run to the best of my abilities.”

That was the first time the team competed in the relay. The next time will be likely at the Drake Relays at the end of April, said Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody.

Compared with the Florida Relays, the Click Shootout will be different not just in scoring (Florida was not scored), but there will be fewer relays and more individual competition.

“We’re competing against some really good teams,” Woody said. “I know Aaron [Mallett] is ready to run a lot faster in the high [hurdles.”

Mallett is coming off of his best start to open a season as a Hawkeye. His time of 13.65 seconds in the 110-meter hurdles ranks first in the Big Ten, fifth in the country.

Also in the hurdles, sophomore Noah Larrison will be a name to remember this weekend. The Clive native ran a career-best 51.39 seconds, putting him at third in the Big Ten.

Iowa’s distance crew competed in California while the rest of the team was in Florida last weekend. Michael Melchert headlined the group, finishing 13th in his first 10,000 meters.

“He’s challenging the upper ends of his ability,” Woody said. “I think that Coach Layne Anderson knows that those athletes are prepared to do bigger and better things, it’s just a matter of continuing to progress.”

But for now, the team has all eyes on the current task. In Arizona, the field events begin at 11 a.m. (CDT), and the running events start at 2:30 p.m. at the Wildcats’ track, the Drachman Stadium.

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