Men’s track Hawks start season off strong

Personal bests and facility records propelled Iowa men’s track to an outstanding opening meet.


Paxton Corey

Antonio Woodward and Raymonte Dow make an exchange in the 4×400 meter relay during the Larry Wieczorek Invitational meet in Iowa City, Iowa; Saturday January 20, 2018.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s track & field team took no time getting into the habit of winning at the indoor season-opening Jimmy Grant Invitational — it picked up victories in seven events.

Senior Reno Tuufuli notched the first victory in the shot put (18.04 meters).  Tuufuli is regarded as one of the best throwers in the nation, as demonstrated by the early season victory.

“It was a good confidence-builder, competing in the first meet of the season and getting a win,” Tuufuli said. “I’ll carry that confidence with me and try to get better each week the rest of the season.”

Junior Antonio Woodard was the star of the entire day, winning two events and setting a facility record in the process.  He won the 60 meters (6.88) and set the record in the 300 meters (32.89).

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Woodard had expected to open the season with some salsa, and his times backed up the expectations.

“It feels good,” Woodard said. “I just wanted to get out there and trust my training, trust my coach, trust my fitness, do what I could to win, and just let everything else take care of itself.  It was a pretty good day.”

Breaking the facility record was a special moment for him.

“This is our home track, everyone is watching, so I just wanted to do everything I could to make my teammates and my coaches proud,” Woodard said. “ So I was happy to come out with the win.”

Iowa Director of Track & Field Joey Woody was just as pleased to see the record-book moment.

“Seeing Antonio go out and have a great meet today, that was fun to watch, especially seeing him run back-to-back 60 meters and still see him come back and break the facility record,” Woody said.

Other victorious Hawkeyes include James Carter in the triple jump (14.53 meters), Mar’Yea Harris in the 600 meters (1:18.77), and the men’s 1,600-meter relay team — Raymund Clarke, Austin Leitz, Tyler Olson, and Harris — (3:13.34).

The event was the first in December for the Hawkeyes, replacing the traditional intrasquad meet to open the season, and the new competition yielded excellent results.

Along with having success to start the season, the meet also gave Iowa the opportunity to honor a former Hawkeye.

“It was a long day, but it was fun.  This is the first time we have ever had this Jimmy Grant Invitational, and it is exciting to be able to honor our former women’s coach Jimmy Grant and to be able to have a meet in his name,” Woody said.  “To be able to open up the season with an actual meet, not just an intrasquad meet, we can tell the energy was a lot higher.  We came away with some great performances.”

The Hawkeyes will continue the indoor season Jan. 11-12 in the Rec Building at the Hawkeye Invitational.