Iowa track’s Britt surprises himself, ties school record

Jamal Britt’s 7.60 time in the 60-meter hurdles tied the program record set by Jaylan McConico.


Jenna Galligan/The Daily Iowan

Iowa hurdlers Gratt Reed, Jamal Britt, Iowa alum Aaron Mallett––who ran unattached––compete in the 60m hurdle premier final during the second day of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 at the University of Iowa Recreation Building. Reed, Britt, and Mallett finished fifth, second, and first, respectively. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Hawkeyes could only host Big Ten teams. Iowa men took first, scoring 189, and women finished third with 104 among Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Illinois.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa senior Jamal Britt had never posted a 60-meter hurdles time below 7.70, that’s why his school-record-tying mark of 7.60 came as such a shock to the Las Vegas, Nevada, native at the Hawkeye Big Ten Invitational in the University of Iowa Recreation Building Friday night.

“I thought [my time] was around a 7.69 or 7.68,” Britt said. “Then, 7.60 popped up and I was like ‘Oh, OK man.’ After the race, I took in the moment I was like ‘OK, I could actually see myself running a 7.50 this year.’”

The 7.60 finish puts Britt atop the Big Ten Conference and second nationally this season in that race. He leads the Big Ten by nearly .30 seconds and is just .05 behind Florida State’s Trey Cunningham for the No. 1 spot in the country.

Britt is always striving to improve, and the 7.60 time was a result of a race where Britt said everything came together, as his previous career-best was a tenth-of-a-second slower.

After he ran a 7.70 at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational in Iowa City Jan. 23, Britt knew he had could post faster times like the one he put up at the Hawkeye Big Ten Invitational.

“With the 7.70, the start as well was perfect, but I had some little minor mess-ups in there,” Britt said. “I was breaking down form in the last two hurdles. But when I ran the 7.60, it was all set-in place, not a single form was broken down, I was attacking the hurdles and bringing the same speed I started off with, everything just set up perfectly.”

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One of Britt’s main focuses in the hurdle sprint is getting off the starting line with a burst of speed by snapping his trail leg down quickly from the start, something he and Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody have worked on in practice.

At Friday’s starting line, Britt was lined up next to Jaylan McConico, who was competing unattached from his Hawkeye teammates because his indoor track and field eligibility ran out.

Britt’s 7.60 time tied the program record that McConico set, and Woody expects Britt to be motivated because he gets to run alongside McConico.

“It helps to have another guy like Jaylan McConico right next to you,” Woody said. “A guy that you train with every day and is the school-record holder as well. When you have the school-record holder next to you and you beat him, that’s a pretty good sign of you’re doing some pretty good things.”

Britt said that tying McConico’s record during a race that saw him compete against McConico was “special.” Britt also believes competing against McConico helped him start fast to keep pace with “a pretty fast guy.”

McConico finished second behind Britt on Friday, crossing the finish line in 7.74.

Britt and the Hawkeyes will compete again from Feb. 25-27 at the Big Ten Championships in Geneva, Ohio, before heading to the NCAA Championships to finish the indoor season in Fayetteville, Arkansas, in mid-March.