Iowa track builds on strong outdoor campaign

Despite taking trips to California and Florida, Iowa track and field was by no means on vacation.


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Ben Allan Smith

Iowa's Collin Hofacker finishes the final stretch of the mens' 4x400 meter relay during the 2018 Drake Relays at Drake Stadium in Des Moines, Iowa on Friday, April 27, 2018. Iowa placed first in the event with a time of 3:08.67. (Ben Allan Smith/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Sports Reporter

Iowa track and field had a busy weekend to say the least. Competing in two meets on opposite sides of the country, the Hawkeyes proved one thing: They were ready to compete.

Both the Florida Relays and the Stanford Invitational showcased the talent the two Iowa track squads possessed.

The Daily Iowan took a look at some numbers from this past weekend’s meets to show how Iowa is competing so far.

3:03.10 — Winning time of the men’s 1,600-meter relay in Florida

Iowa track left its mark to close competition at the Florida Relays. The relay squad of Wayne Lawrence Jr., Antonio Woodard, Collin Hofacker, and Mar’Yea Harris won the event with the third-fastest relay time in school history.

Lawrence led the race early, and Woodard and Hofacker were able to stay toward the front of the pack over the next couple of exchanges. Harris — in what is by now a regular occurrence — came up clutch as the anchor, taking the lead and securing the Hawkeye victory.

The men’s relay had been a strength throughout the indoor season, and it’s flexing early in the outdoor campaign.

“We finished the day on a high note,” Iowa Director of Track & Field Joey Woody said in a release. “The 1,600-meter relay was a big win for us. That’s been an event that we’ve wanted to win ever since we started coming to the Florida Relays. We’ve placed second and third but never won. It’s always great to win the last event on the track. I’m very proud of our guys who battled after a long and tough weekend.”

3 — All-time climbers in the 800 meter

Before the men’s relay closed the weekend in style, the highlight of competition for Iowa very well could have been the 800.

“The highlight [of] Day 1 was the men’s and women’s 800 meters,” Woody said in a release. “Taylor Arco had a huge personal best and did it after leading the entire first 600 meters. Then, Mallory King had a great performance and big personal best in her first 800 meters since last outdoor season. Tysen VanDraska had a big breakthrough today as well.”

King now ranks fourth in school history in the event (2:07.08), and Arco also broke onto the list with the eight-best mark (2:08.66).

On the men’s side, VanDraska also moved on the all-time leaderboard, from ninth to eight (1:49.22).

2 — Top finishes for Reno Tuufuli

Tuufuli continued his impressive throwing career at Iowa with a couple of high finishes in Gainesville, especially in the discus.

He started the meet by finishing fourth in the discus (56.74 meters) and returned later to come in eight in the shot put (18.21).

“Reno had a good day in discus and competed well in the shot put,” Woody said in a release. “He had some personal best throws but wasn’t able to stay in the ring and had a couple foot fouls. We know that his big throw is in there. The throws crew is training very hard right now, and their hard work is going to pay off once we get into May and June.”

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