Iowa Hawkeyes

Joey Woody has Iowa track and field on the move

But Hawkeye coach not satisfied just yet

Iowa Coach Joey Woody wants to build a Big Ten and national power in Iowa City. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)
Iowa Coach Joey Woody wants to build a Big Ten and national power in Iowa City. (Jim Slosiarek/The Gazette)

IOWA CITY — Joey Woody thinks he has the University of Iowa track and field teams pointed in the right direction.

The Hawkeye men are coming off their best finish at NCAA Outdoor Championships in 50 years (17th) and set or reset 25 school records during the 2017 indoor and outdoor seasons. They won their first Drake Relays “title” last year after winning the 3,200-meter, 1,600 and sprint medley relays.

The women’s team, too, is on the move with Brittany Brown (100 meter dash), Laulauga Tausaga (discus) and Jahisha Thomas (long jump) ranked among the Top 10 nationally.

The Francis X. Cretzmeyer track is a happy place right now, but ...

“Nobody that wants to be on top is ever satisfied,” Woody said Wednesday, a day before this year’s Drake Relays kicks into high gear.

Woody knows a thing or two about success on the track. He was a standout high school runner at Iowa City High, a four-time All-American and NCAA champion at Northern Iowa and a World medalist.

Being the best team in Iowa is not his goal.

“We’re trying to be one of the top teams in the country and not just the Midwest,” he said. “We’ve been working really hard to get to this point.

“(But) we haven’t won a Big Ten championship yet.”

And Woody won’t be satisfied until a Big Ten championship banner is hanging in Iowa City. And maybe not even then.

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“We haven’t taken our foot off the gas,” he said. “We’re going to keep moving forward ... well, just keep moving.”

The Hawkeyes have made this move in a rather unconventional way. Many of the national track and field powers focus on one area — distance runners or throwers or sprinters. Iowa is finding success across the board.

Along with the three women who rank high nationally, men’s discus thrower Reno Tuufuli is 10th nationally and Will Dougherty is among the best decathletes in the country and coming off a school-record performance at the Bryan Clay Invitational. Mar’yea Harris is first in the Big Ten with a 45.71-second 400 dash and Nathan Mylenek is tops in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Brown (200 dash), Andrea Shine (10,000), Tausaga and Thomas also have top Big Ten women’s performances.

“It’s fun to be successful and it’s fun to share in other people’s success and them share in yours,” said Tuufuli, the defending Drake Relays champ in the discus. “I go watch the runners, the runners come watch me. I watch the high jumpers. We all support each other.”

Junior Briana Guillory said it’s fun to celebrate success as a team.

“These people sitting next to us (at the Mt. SAC Relays) were like ‘wow, we’re jealous of your team because you’re cheering for jumps and pole vault and runs at the same time,’” she said.

Woody said it’s all part of the plan — setting a foundation mixing blue-chip recruits with homegrown talent.

“The main key to our success is not just having the best talent coming in the door, but actually developing the talent that we have,” he said. “That’s what makes coaching fun, seeing those athletes, those kids, especially from the state of Iowa, develop into Big Ten point scorers, Big Ten champions, NCAA qualifiers and All-Americans.”

Drake Relays University/College/Elite Schedule

THURSDAY

10:30 a.m. — Decathlon

12:30 p.m. — Heptathlon

4:30 p.m. — Women’s 800 run

4:39 p.m. — Men’s 800 run

4:46 p.m. — Women’s 1,500 run

4:59 p.m. — Men’s 1,500 run

5:55 p.m. — Women’s 10,000 run

6 p.m. — Pole vault at Capital Square

6:35 p.m. — Men’s 10,000 run

7:08 p.m. — Women’s 3,000 steeplechase

7:22 p.m. — Men’s 3,000 steeplechase

7:33 p.m. — Women’s 5,000 run (unseeded)

7:53 p.m. — Women’s 5,000 (seeded)

8:22 p.m. — Men’s 5,000 run (unseeded)

8:37 p.m. — Men’s 5,000 run (seeded)

FRIDAY

8:50 a.m. — Women’s college 3,200 relay

9:04 a.m. — Men’s college 3,200 relay

9:15 a.m. — Women’s college 400 relay prelim

9:33 a.m. — Men’s college 400 relay, prelim

10 a.m. — Women’s long jump

10 a.m. — Men’s javelin

10:21 a.m. — Men’s masters 800 run (men/women)

10:42 a.m. — Women’s 6,400 relay

11 a.m. — Men’s shot put

11:40 a.m. — Men’s 6,400 relay

Noon — Women’s 100 hurdles, prelim

12:13 p.m. — Men’s 110 hurdles, prelim

12:28 p.m. — Women’s college 1,600 relay, prelim

12:30 p.m. — Women’s pole vault

12:52 p.m. — Men’s college 1,600 relay, prelim

1 p.m. — Men’s high jump

1 p.m. — Women’s discus

1:16 p.m. — Women’s university 400 relay, prelim

1:26 p.m. — Men’s university 400 relay, prelim

1:30 p.m. — Women’s javelin

1:30 p.m. — Men’s triple jump

2:34 p.m. — Women’s 100 dash, prelim

2:49 p.m. — Men’s 100 dash, prelim

3:03 p.m. — Women’s university 1,600 relay, prelim

3:25 p.m. — Men’s 1,600 relay, prelim

5:13 p.m. — Women’s 200 dash

5:21 p.m. — Men’s 200 dash

5:30 p.m. — Women’s shot put

6 p.m. — Men’s elite pole vault

6:15 p.m. — Women’s elite high jump

6:59 p.m. — Women’s 1500 run

7:07 p.m. — Men’s 1500 run

7:18 p.m. — Women’s college sprint medley

7:38 p.m. — Men’s college sprint medley

7:55 p.m. — Women’s university 3,200 relay

8:08 p.m. — Women’s elite 2-mile run

8:22 p.m. — Men’s university 3,200 relay

SATURDAY

9 a.m. — Women’s hammer throw

9 a.m. — Women’s Iowa college distance medley

9:15 a.m. — Men’s Iowa college distance medley

9:30 a.m. — Women’s college distance medley

9:30 a.m. — Women’s triple jump

9:45 a.m. — Men’s college distance medley

10 a.m. — Men’s discus

10:30 a.m. — Men’s pole vault

10:33 a.m. — Women’s 800 relay

10:48 a.m. — Men’s 800 relay

11:40 a.m. — Women’s shuttle hurdle relay

11:56 a.m. — Men’s shuttle hurdle relay

12:11 p.m. — Women’s university distance medley

12:25 p.m. — Men’s university distance medley

12:45 p.m. — Men’s long jump

12:58 p.m. — Women’s 400 hurdles

1 p.m. — Men’s hammer throw

1:11 p.m. — Men’s 400 hurdles

1:30 p.m. — Women’s high jump

1:30 p.m. — Men’s invitational discus

1:33 p.m. — Women’s university sprint medley

1:45 p.m. — Men’s university sprint medley

2 p.m. — Women’s elite pole vault

2:01 p.m. — Men’s elite 400 hurdles

2:07 p.m. — Women’s 100 dash, final

2:11 p.m. — Men’s 100 dash, final

2:17 p.m. — Women’s elite 400 hurdles

2:23 p.m. — Men’s mile invitational

2:30 p.m. — Women’s 100 hurdles, final

2:30 p.m. — Men’s elite shot put

2:37 p.m. — Women’s elite 100 hurdles

2:42 p.m. — Men’s 110 hurdles, final

2:49 p.m. — Men’s elite 110 hurdles

2:56 p.m. — Men’s eilte 100 dash

3:03 p.m. — Women’s 800 run

3:08 p.m. — Men’s 800 run

3:13 p.m. — Women’s university 400 relay, final

3:18 p.m. — Men’s university 400 relay, final

3:22 p.m. — Women’s college 400 relay, final

3:27 p.m. — Men’s college 400 relay, final

3:41 p.m. — Women’s university 1,600 relay, final

3:48 p.m. — Men’s university 1,600 relay, final

4:14 p.m. — Women’s college 1,600 relay, final

4:20 p.m. — Men’s college 1,600 relay, final

l Comments: (319) 368-8695; jr.ogden@thegazette.com

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