March 2017

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Page 116 of 136

117 T he Big Ten Championships were packed with cheering, celebrating, and even a backflip as the University of Iowa track and field team returned from Ohio with Big Ten Champions in the 60-meter hurdles and 200-meter dash. e Hawkeyes competed in the Big Ten Championships from Feb. 24-25 in Geneva, Ohio. e men finished in sixth place, their highest finish since 2011, and the women were 10th. As a group, Iowa le too much on the table, but two individuals showcased the strength of the program. Senior Aaron Mallett and junior Brittany Brown won Big Ten titles in their events with dominant performances. Mallett was seeking to become the first Hawkeye to win back-to-back Big Ten Championships since Babatunde Amosu won triple jump titles in 2014 and 2015. Brown was making her first postseason appearance since returning from an injury-riddled 2016 season and was looking for her first Big Ten title since her freshman year in 2014. "is shows the direction of our program. We are taking big steps forward," Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody said. "We have a lot of young athletes that will help our program build a championship-level team." For Mallett, it started with a goal and ended with a backflip; somewhere in between there was a race. e native of St. Louis completed the best race of his career, taking home his second straight title in the 60-meter hurdles with a lifetime best of 7.63 seconds. "I came in with one goal and that was to get points for my team," Mallett said. "To do it against a field like this is a blessing. We have been putting in a lot of work and to repeat in any conference is difficult. To run the third-fastest time in the country was a lot of fun." Mallett capped his victory with a celebratory backflip in front of television cameras as he jogged toward his coaches and teammates. Brown's victory had been a long time coming. She was hampered by injuries last season, dealing with tears in both hips, as well as a pulled hamstring. Brown cruised through the preliminary race with a personal-best and school-record time of 22.79 seconds. A day later, she backed her performance by winning the 200-meter title in 22.83 seconds, almost a second faster than second place. "God is good. It was his timing and not mine," Brown said. "It is a good feeling to walk away and know that I can compete not only with Big Ten athletes but anybody in the country." Brown's 200-meter title is Iowa's first championship in that event since Kineke Alexander's in 2007. Mallett and Brown rank third and fourth in the country in 60-meter hurdles and 200-meters, respectively. e duo is a lock to make the NCAA Indoor Championships where even more is expected out of them in the coming weeks. e NCAA Indoor Championships run March 10- 11 in College Station, Texas.

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