Iowa men’s track gets final test before Big Ten Championships

Iowa competes at Notre Dame in the Alex Wilson Invitational to close out the indoor regular season.

From+left%3A+Iowa%27s+DeJuan+Frye%2C+Collin+Hofacker%2C+Mar%27Yea+Harris%2C+and+Chris+Thompson+rehydrate+following+their+victory+in+the+men%27s+4x400+meter+relay+during+the+2018+Drake+Relays+at+Drake+Stadium+in+Des+Moines%2C+Iowa+on+Saturday%2C+April+28%2C+2018.
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Iowa men’s track gets final test before Big Ten Championships

From left: Iowa's DeJuan Frye, Collin Hofacker, Mar'Yea Harris, and Chris Thompson rehydrate following their victory in the men's 4x400 meter relay during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

From left: Iowa's DeJuan Frye, Collin Hofacker, Mar'Yea Harris, and Chris Thompson rehydrate following their victory in the men's 4x400 meter relay during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Ben Smith

From left: Iowa's DeJuan Frye, Collin Hofacker, Mar'Yea Harris, and Chris Thompson rehydrate following their victory in the men's 4x400 meter relay during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Ben Smith

Ben Smith

From left: Iowa's DeJuan Frye, Collin Hofacker, Mar'Yea Harris, and Chris Thompson rehydrate following their victory in the men's 4x400 meter relay during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Saturday, April 28, 2018.

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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In its final indoor meet before competing in the Big Ten Indoor Championships, Iowa heads to Notre Dame on Feb. 16 to compete in the Alex Wilson Invitational. As the regular season comes to a close, the men’s track team has nine athletes ranked in the top five in the conference in their respective events.

Jaylan McConico (7.73) and Chris Douglas (7.76) own the two top spots in the Big Ten in the 60-meter hurdles. Anthony Williams has the fifth fastest time in the event (7.91).

Mar’Yea Harris ranks first in the Big Ten in both the 400 (46.02) and the 600 (1:16.60), picking up both those times in victories at the Meyo Invitational, a performance that won him Big Ten Male Track Athlete of the Week.

RELATED: Hawkeye track’s Mar’Yea Harris continues to turn heads in senior season

“Everything seems to be clicking right now,” Harris said. “I feel good about my current times, and I know that they will keep getting better. Right now, it’s just about getting my body right to finish the indoor season out strong.”

Wayne Lawrence (46.14) and Karayme Bartley (46.39) are among the conference leaders in the 400 as well, ranking second and fourth. Bartley also joins Antonio Woodard on the 200-meter leaderboard. Bartley boasts a time of 20.81 to place second in the conference, and Woodard’s time of 20.89 ranks fourth.

Ben Allan Smith
Iowa junior Mar’Yea Harris poses for a portrait in the Iowa Rec Building on Jan. 10, 2018.

Matt Manternach and Peyton Haack rank fifth in the conference in the 800 meters (1:49.70) and heptathlon (5,279 points), respectively.

The 1,600-meter relay squad consisting of Bartley, Woodard, Lawrence, and Harris, fresh off of breaking the school record in the event, lead the Big Ten with a time of (3:04.76). That time is also good for sixth fastest in the nation.

These performances have shot Iowa up the leaderboard, with the men’s team now being ranked No. 20 in the nation. The ranking is 14 spots higher than the Hawkeyes were slated last week.

Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody is happy with the ranking but remains hungry for more.

Senior thrower Reno Tuufuli also stressed staying focused and continuing to improve as the indoor season comes to an end.

“This is the time of year where you can’t let anything be a distraction, especially when competing,” Tuufuli said. “It’s all about going out there and putting up a good performance. That’s something we all have on our minds, so now it’s just about executing.”

The Hawkeyes have set their minds on putting up a good performance on Feb. 16.

The Alex Wilson Invitational kicks off that day at 10 a.m.. The last event— the 1,600-meter relay — is scheduled for 3:30.

The Big Ten Indoor Championships will be held the following weekend in Ann Arbor, Michigan, as the postseason kicks off.

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