Ten Hawkeyes advanced to Saturday’s finals, and junior Amanda Howe won the women’s hammer throw.
The Iowa track and field team kicked off the 2022 Big Ten Championships Friday with a bevy of impressive performances.
To lead off the day in Minneapolis, junior Amanda Howe won the women’s hammer throw with a mark of 64.84 meters on her first throw of the day. The throw eclipsed her previous collegiate best of 62.92 meters.
Howe took home her first career Big Ten Championship individual title with her career-long hurl.
“I’m so proud of that girl,” Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody told The Daily Iowan Friday night. “I think she came out and just dominated right from the start. Putting that big monster throw outright from the start, that was really impressive. She had a lot of throws over her previous PR. She just came out, and she wanted it, and she went out and earned it and I’m really proud of her. I’m excited she’s coming back next year, too.”
West leads decathlon
While Howe gave Iowa its first gold of the championships, sophomore Austin West finished Friday’s first five events of the decathlon atop the leaderboard, priming him to follow Howe’s lead on Saturday.
West’s score of 4150 — 50 points ahead of second-place Ryan Talbot of Michigan State — consisted of top-three finishes in four events.
West was third in the long jump, second in the 100-meter dash and the shot put, and he won the 400-meter dash.
Woody said Friday wasn’t West’s finest performance, but he did what he needed to do to set himself up for Saturday.
“I think he just felt like he wasn’t having a great day,” Woody said. “But he came back and had a tremendous 400. I think he’s kind of got the wheels going now. He had a great 100, but he kind of was a little bit flat in the middle in the long jump. Shot put went fairly well, but people aren’t going to just lay over for him. He’s gonna have to battle and compete all the way through to the tenth event and give himself a shot to win a Big Ten title.”
West earned silver in the decathlon at last year’s Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
Hawkeye’s flock to finals
A combined 10 Hawkeye men and women advanced to Sunday’s finals with strong performances in preliminary events.
Eight of those finals-bound athletes came from the 400-meter hurdle races.
In the women’s competition, senior Erin Dowd, junior Mariel Bruxvoort, senior Payton Wensel, and sophomore Paige Magee all ran career-best times and qualified for the finals. Dowd was first in the qualifying contest, Bruxvoort finished fourth, Wenzel nabbed sixth, and Magee ran the eighth-fastest time.
On the men’s side, junior Julien Gillum and sophomore Drake Woody each won Their heat to secure automatic qualifying spots. Freshman Phillip Jefferson and senior Raymonte Dow Both ran season-best times to advance. Jefferson and Dow finished seventh and eight, respectively.
“They all competed tremendously,” Woody said of his hurdlers. “I think Paige Magee got things rolling in that first heat and that gave everybody a lot of confidence. That’s what we wanted to do, that was the expectation. That’s why we put five women into the race. We felt like We could get four or five into the final and They all did a great job. “
Sophomores LaSarah Hargrove and Khullen Jefferson each qualified for the 200-meter finals, claiming the third-best times in their respective races.
“We talked about it last night — we have to make finals if we want to compete to win this championship,” Woody said. “Our back is against the wall this weekend, so we have to get people into the finals to give us a shot to win this thing.”
Iowa will compete in day two of the Big Ten Championships Saturday. Individual titles will be up for grabs in the heptathlon, decathlon, and a number of field events.