Running Together

Dec. 13, 2005

IOWA CITY, IA – One hails from Georgia. Another from Illinois and a third from northern Iowa.

Now they come together with goals of dominating the Big Ten sprint scene.

David Chaplin and Prince Riley, both freshman, and Lee Elbert, a sophomore transfer from Iowa Central Community College, look to bring their talent and high school accolades to a young Iowa sprint program.

“I think they’re going to have an immediate impact on the team. They’re terrific workers and have a terrific attitude,” said men’s track and field head coach, Larry Wieczorek.

Chaplin joins the team as a five-time Georgia state champion. He was a two-time all-county, all-region, and all-state runner, as well as a two-time team MVP and best sprinter award winner. He set school records in the 100 meters and as a part of the 400 and 1,600-meter relay.

Even though Chaplin hasn’t competed officially for the black and gold, he is already working to become a better teammate.

“The key to us here is being a team. I bring a positive attitude. I encourage everyone – male, female, not so good, good athletes. I will critique everyone, senior or not, and I hope they critique me, and I take it and learn from it,” he said.

Riley, who is from Oak Brook Terrace, Ill., brings more accolades to the squad. He was the state champion in the indoor and outdoor 400 meters his senior year. Not only was he a six-time all-state selection, but he was also a four-time sectional champion and set school records in the indoor and outdoor 400 meters, outdoor 200 meters and as a part of the 400 and 1,600 meter relays.

While he may be a freshman, Riley has big dreams for himself and what he can help his team accomplish.

“I want to be an all-American in the 400 meters and I want to have a couple Big Ten championships under my belt,” he said.

Elbert joins the Hawkeyes after earning all-America honors at Iowa Central Community College last year. In high school at Whittemore, IA, he was a nine-time all-conference selection, as well as a six-time conference champion. He set school records in the 200 meters and as a part of the 400 and 800-meter relay team.

Because of his ability to run hard, Elbert hopes to leave Iowa as a Big Te Champion.

With that kind of talent to coach, it’s no wonder Wieczorek is excited for the future.

“They come in with great attitude, a winning attitude. They were state champions in high school. They know how to win and expect to do well. Their attitude can really help the overall track and sprint team as well,” he said.

Already Wieczorek has seen the benefits of the talented group. At an intersquad meet held on Dec. 7, all three competed well.

Chaplin won the 60 meters, beating out Elbert by .03 seconds. Elbert won the 400 meters, and Riley won the 600 meters. Both Chaplin and Riley ran legs on the runner-up 1,600-meter relay.

With strong starts to promising careers, Wieczorek has confidence all three will find what it takes for collegiate success.

“I think it’s just a matter of keep doing what they’re doing. They have a terrific work ethic and attitude. It’s just a matter of learning to adjust to the Division I collegiate scene.

I definitely think they can perform like veterans,” he said.

The Hawkeyes open the season at home in the Iowa Open on Jan. 14.

By Jennifer Bissell, Iowa Sports Information