Hawkeye track starts outdoor season strong in Tempe

To open the outdoor track and field season, Iowa put up a couple historical performances and numerous top-three finishes.

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Hawkeye track starts outdoor season strong in Tempe

Iowa's Chris Douglas, right, competes for first in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Douglas finished first with a time of 14.03. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa's Chris Douglas, right, competes for first in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Douglas finished first with a time of 14.03. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben Allan Smith

Iowa's Chris Douglas, right, competes for first in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Douglas finished first with a time of 14.03. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben Allan Smith

The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben Allan Smith

Iowa's Chris Douglas, right, competes for first in the men's 110 meter hurdles during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Douglas finished first with a time of 14.03. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

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While it may have been competing a time zone away, Iowa track and field found itself right at home to begin the outdoor season.

At the Baldy Castillo Invitational in Tempe, Arizona, the Hawkeyes took the outdoor track for the first time in 2019, and the results were commendable.

The first day of competition saw a variety of competitors, but the easy highlight for Iowa was the trio of Hawkeyes who finished 1-2-3 in the 110-meter hurdles. Jaylan McConico took gold in the event (13.82), while Chris Douglas (14.18) and Anthony Williams (14.25) came in second and third place, respectively.

The hurdler trio set the stage for the weekend for the Hawkeyes, but the performances of the weekend, according to Director of Track and Field Joey Woody, occurred on Day 2.

“The performance of the weekend for the women was Konstadina Spanoudakis in the discus, throwing a big lifetime best,” Woody said in a release. “The highlight for the men was Jay Hunt hitting a massive personal best in the high jump.”

The throw Woody was referring to for Spanoudakis was her 53.41-meter toss in the discus, which now stands as the third-best mark in school history. Hunt had an equally impressive day in the high jump, where he cleared 2.11 meters to break into the top-10 list. Hunt now ranks ninth in school history in the event.

Day 2 of competition saw eight individuals and three relay teams finish in the top three of their respective events, something Woody took notice to.

“We had a great start to the outdoor season,” Woody said in a release. “It was fun to see some high-quality performances today. We started Day 2 with a personal best from Reno [Tuufuli] in the discus. Nate Mylenek had a very impressive season opener in the steeplechase.”

Tuufuli placed second in the discus with a mark of 57.49, while Mylenek was the lone first-place finisher for the Hawkeyes on the second day of competition.

The Iowa women put on a strong showing in the 100-meter hurdles, where Peyton Wensel and Addie Swanson finished second and third, respectively.

Both the men’s and women’s relay teams were a strength for Iowa during the indoor season, and that success has translated into the outdoor season early in the campaign.

The men’s 400-meter relay finished second boasting a time of 40.60. The women found success in both the 400 (45.60) and 1,600-meter (3:45.23) relay, with each squad coming in third place.

“The women had a strong start in both relay sections,” Woody said in a release. “I thought the men’s 400-meter relay also ran well, considering we had multiple athletes resting through this meet.”

The season has been put into motion, and Iowa will look to keep the momentum it gained in Arizona throughout the rest of the campaign.

Iowa will next hit the track March 29-30. The squad will split between the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Florida and the Stanford Invitational in Stanford, California.

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