Competitive fire fuels Iowa men’s track during road season

The men’s Track Hawks, led by some of the best time in the nation, continue the road indoor season at two meets this weekend.

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Competitive fire fuels Iowa men’s track during road season

Iowa junior Mar'yea Harris poses for a portrait inside the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

Iowa junior Mar'yea Harris poses for a portrait inside the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

Ben Allan Smith

Iowa junior Mar'yea Harris poses for a portrait inside the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

Ben Allan Smith

Ben Allan Smith

Iowa junior Mar'yea Harris poses for a portrait inside the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Wednesday, Jan. 10, 2018.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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Another weekend brings with it another track meet for the Iowa track and field team. After rising up to the challenge in its first road test of the season, the Iowa men’s team is back at it, competing at two different venues across the country.

The squad will split its athletes between the Tyson Invitational hosted by Arkansas and the Iowa State classic in Ames.

Going into the weekend, the men’s team is ranked 34th in the nation, one spot below its mark from the previous week. The squad rose to the No. 2 ranking in the Midwest region, however, after being slated at third a week ago.

These rankings are fueled by a number of remarkable individual performances that rank among the top in the country.

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“We are competing at a real high level right now,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “We have some athletes who are ranked very highly right now in all of their event areas so I think it is a good indicator of where we are at. They have been putting in a lot of hard work for a while now, and this is the time of the season where that endurance really pays off.”

Mar’Yea Harris is fifth in the NCAA in the 400 meters (46.02), followed closely by teammate Wayne Lawrence (46.14), who clocks in at sixth. Karayme Bartley comes in at 13th in the nation in the same event (46.39).

The 60-meter hurdles have also been a strong point for Iowa, with Jaylan McConico (7.73) and Chris Douglas (7.78) coming in as the eighth and 15th fastest times in the country.

Harris and McConico rank first in the Big Ten in their respective races. Harris also leads the Big Ten in the 600 meters (1:16.60).

Both of Harris’ Big Ten-leading times were put up last week at the Meyo Invitational, a performance that earned him Big Ten men’s Track Athlete of the Week.

Coming off of that spectacular performance, Harris takes comfort in the accomplishment, but as always, is still looking to improve.

“I’ve said it before, it always feels good to get a win,” Harris said. “I just want to keep building off of my times, improve my performance and get myself in the best position to succeed late in the season. I want to keep breaking records and keep winning races, really become the best that I can be.”

Lawrence, who has finished in second behind Harris in the 400 the last two weeks, has shown signs of growth in his freshman season, and his development and competitiveness is impressive to his teammates.

“Most freshmen don’t come in here and have the nerve to come up to an upperclassmen and be like ‘Hey, how do I be better than you?’” junior Collin Hofacker said. “Most freshman come in and are kind of hesitant, but these guys are in here and are ready to work, and that has been nice to see.”

That competitive fire will fuel the Hawkeyes this weekend.

The Tyson Invitational opens Friday at 1 p.m. with the field events, and continues at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday morning. The Iowa State Classic will begin at noon on both Friday and Saturday.

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