Lilly runs with the best


(Courtesy University of Iowa)

Carter Lilly lost his first race of the outdoor track and field season by 0.15 seconds at the Texas Invitational on April 16.

Running neck-and-neck down the home stretch of the 800 meters, the sophomore kept pace with Mississippi’s Craig Engels.

Engels, a 2015 All-SEC second-team member in the outdoor season and an All-SEC first-team member in the indoor season, inched his way across the finish line a flicker before Lilly.

“I was focused on staying relaxed,” Lilly said. “We had a rabbit — he said he was going to go through in 51 (seconds) — I [told myself] to stay with him and then make sure to push once he steps off.”

Second place is not bad at all, especially in a race with some of the best athletes in the country. But even his second-place finish was overshadowed by something else.

The Sioux City native’s time of 1:47.32 skyrocketed in Iowa’s all-time leaderboards, climbing up to second place behind Erik Sowinski’s 1:45.90 set in 2012.

“The 800 was awesome,” said Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “Running the second-best time behind a guy who’s made three world championship teams, that’s a good indicator on where he’s at.”

Something else worth noting — the race in Texas was only Lilly’s second competition this outdoor season. Lilly’s success should not come as a shock; his productive indoor campaign was a sign of things to come.

He ran the second-fastest indoor 600 meters in program history (1:17.34) and the fourth-fastest indoor 800 meters (1:49.09), and he was a part of the third-fastest indoor 1,600-meter relay (3:07.24).

Bill Frazier had commanded the second-best time in school history for 54 years until Lilly leaped over him on April 16.

Once he toppled Frazier’s time, Lilly was ecstatic.

“I was looking up at the leaderboard because they didn’t put the times up right away, and then I saw my time and was super excited,” he said. “It was crazy.”

Eyes on Musco

This weekend, the Hawkeyes will compete in their only home meet of the outdoor season, the Musco Twilight.

“Anytime we get an opportunity to compete at home, especially for our seniors, it’s definitely a great atmosphere,” Woody said.

Last year, the Musco Twilight was one of Iowa’s bright spots.

Combined, the men’s and women’s teams took home seven event titles while recording 12 personal-best performances.

At the meet, Iowa’s Vinnie Saucer Jr, Aaron Mallett, and James Harrington were on one of the fastest 400-meter relays in school history, clocking a time of 39.66 seconds.

Lilly was on the 1,600-meter relay that won in 3:10.66. Current Hawkeyes Nicholas Aly and Jared Ganschow were also on that relay.

Hawkeyes, others fall in rankings

In the national rankings, Iowa dropped two slots, from 33rd to 35th in this week’s update.

Iowa’s output at Texas was a solid outing but did not do too much to affect its ranking.

The Hawkeyes’ slip could have been much worse, as was the case for other teams.

Only one team in the top 10 varied from the past rankings; Texas Tech moved into the 10th spot, while South Carolina dropped to 11th.

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