Magee accelerates to Iowa track and field stardom

Magee’s gold-medal performance in the 60-meter hurdles at the 2021 Big Ten Indoor Championships greatly impressed Iowa director of track and field Joe Woody.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa’s Paige Magee runs the second leg of the Women’s 4×400-meter relay premier. The relay team finished 6th during the Hawkeye B1G Invitational track meet at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Feb. 13 , 2021.

Lauren Swanson, Sports Reporter

On Feb. 27, Iowa women’s track and field earned a third-place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, scoring 75 total team points. The Hawkeyes’ performance tied the program record for best finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.

Among the Hawkeyes that contributed to Iowa’s impressive showing was freshman Paige Magee, who captured a gold medal in the women’s 60-meter hurdles, crossing the finish line in a career-best 8.26 seconds.

Jenny Kimbro is the only other Hawkeye to have ever won the women’s 60-meter hurdles at the Big Ten Indoor Championships, claiming the event’s gold medal in 2019.

“To be completely honest, I was so nervous,” Magee said. “[Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody] was able to tell by looking at me, so he helped calm me down. The only strategy I had during my event was that I’m historically a back-end athlete, which means my finish is usually the strongest part of my race. My start in the finals, specifically, was not at all where I wanted it to be, and I had that thought in the back of my head as I was going over the first two hurdles. Really, the strategy was just to kick it in and lean at the end because, in my race, a 100th of a second separated first through third.”

Woody was as impressed by the Columbia, Missouri, native’s performance as Magee was.

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“Leading up to the Big Ten meet, she was just progressing really well, and each meet just kept getting better and better,” Woody said. “I think her confidence just continued to improve a lot. Going into the Big Ten meet, it’s always hard when the target is on your back as a true freshman, so it was more about keeping her mentally and emotionally focused on what we’ve been working on and not making the event bigger than it was. It was a championship meet, but I kept telling her that it’s just like every other meet we’ve been to that she’s done well at.

“I think she held things together and stayed focused extremely well,” Woody said. “Especially in the final, she definitely kept her composure. Even though the other girls kind of got out on the first couple of hurdles, she came back really strong at the end. It was pretty impressive.”

With the 2021 Big Ten Indoor Championships now in its rearview mirror, Iowa has focused squarely on the upcoming NCAA Indoor Championships.

“A lot of it is just about recovery from the [Big Ten Indoor Championships],” Woody said. “After a three-day meet, the conference meet, a lot of our athletes were doing multiple races. We’ve got the heptathletes who were pretty beat up after the weekend, so we give them a few recovery days to just get their legs back and feeling fresh, both mentally and physically, going into the NCAA meet next week.”

The 2021 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships will be held at the Randal Tyson Center in Fayetteville, Arkansas, March 11-13.