Hawkeyes Prepare For Jack Johnson Classic

Jan. 22, 2008

The Hawkeye men and women’s track teams will compete at the co-ed Jack Johnson Invitational Friday and Saturday at the University of Minnesota Field House in Minneapolis, MN. Events are scheduled to start at 3 p.m. Friday and 9 a.m. Saturday.

The Hawkeye women’s team is ranked 24th in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association national pre-season rankings. Iowa is one of five teams representing the Big Ten in the pre-season poll (Michigan 4th, Penn State 12th, Minnesota 15th and Illinois 25th).

The rankings are compiled strictly from the NCAA descending order lists. The preseason rankings are scored based on the final descending order list of the previous season with improvements based on NCAA post-season competition from that year.

The Hawkeyes scored 37 team points, all coming from three seniors, based on their national ranking in each event. Senior Kineke Alexander accounts for 23.11 points between the 400 (2nd) and 200 meters (15th), senior Meghan Armstrong accounts for 8.69 points between the 3,000 meters (20th) and mile (9th) and senior Diane Nukuri accounts for 5.19 between the 5,000 meters (12th), 3,000 meters (22nd) and the mile (26th).

The Hawkeyes have provisionally qualified four student-athletes for the NCAA Indoor Championships, which will be held March 14-15 in Fayetteville, AR. Their event, qualifying marks and where they rank in the Big Ten and the nation are listed below.

Name          Event  Mark            Big 10/NCAA RankingMeghan Armstrong    Mile    4:46.89            1st/3rdJohn Hickey  Shot Put    61-3 (18.67 m)    1st/4thShane Maier  Shot Put    58-3 (17.75 m)    2nd/7thDiane Nukuri    Mile    4:48.48            2nd/4th="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>="https://hawkeyesports.com/http:%3E%3C/ahref="http:>

The Hawkeyes opened the 2008 indoor season Jan. 19 by hosting the annual Iowa Open at the Recreation Building in Iowa City. The Hawkeye men won six events, while the women won four. Four Hawkeyes provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships, and one school and facility record was broken.

Seniors Kineke Alexander, Meghan Armstrong and Diane Nukuri led the Hawkeye women. Armstrong and Nukuri both provisionally qualified for the national meet in the mile. Armstrong won the event (4:46.89) and Nukuri placed second (4:48.48). Alexander broke the 600-meter school and facility record of 1:27.84 she set last season with her winning time of 1:27.45. Junior Renee White (long jump – 19-0 3/4) and sophomore Rhonda-Kaye Trusty (200 meters – 25.00) also won events for the Hawkeyes.

Junior John Hickey and senior Shane Maier led the men’s team, both provisionally qualifying for the NCAA meet in the shot put. Hickey won the event with a collegiate-best 61-3, which ranks second on Iowa’s all-time best performers list, while Maier placed second (58-3). Iowa’s other event champions included senior Ryan Jordan (weight throw – 58-3 1/4), junior Matty Gorman (long jump – 23-5 1/2), and sophomores Frank Prill (60-meter hurdles – 8.43), Paul Chaney, Jr. (60 meters – 6.94) and Ray Varner (400 meters – 49.35).

Seniors Shane Maier, Max Milder and Micah VanDenend have been named team captains for the 2008 season. Maier and VanDenend both served as captains last season. Maier, from Storm Lake, IA, is the defending Big Ten indoor shot put champion and a two-time all-region honoree. He and four other Hawkeye throwers hold the school record for most times qualified for the NCAA Midwest Regional (4). VanDenend, a native of Glenbard, IL, is the defending Big Ten 10,000-meter champion and won the 2006 NCAA Midwest Cross Country Regional title. The three-time all-region honoree currently holds four of Iowa’s school distance records. Milder, a sprinter from Council Bluffs, IA, is a two-time regional qualifier, earning all-region honors as part of the 400-meter relay last season.

Head Coach Layne Anderson is in his first year as head women’s track and field coach at Iowa. In his four seasons as an assistant with the track and field team, there has been one national champion, 22 all-Americans and 18 Big Ten Champions. While competing for The Citadel in college, Anderson set 10 school records on his way to becoming a three-time Southern Conference champion. He is assisted by four-time Auburn all-American, 1996 decathlon national champion and Olympian Victor Houston and Hawkeye all-American and four-time Big Ten Champion Shellene Williams.

Head Coach Larry Wieczorek is in his 12th season at the helm of the Iowa men’s track team. He has coached 25 all-Americans and 42 Big Ten Champions at Iowa. The team’s highest conference meet finishes during his tenure are second at the 1999 outdoor meet and fourth at the 1997 indoor meet. As a runner, Wieczorek was a six-time Big Ten champion for Iowa – winning four track and two cross country titles – and a four-time all-American. In 1998, Wieczorek was inducted into the National Iowa Varsity Club Hall of Fame. He is assisted by three-time Indiana all-American Scott Cappos and World Champion and four-time Northern Iowa all-American Joey Woody.

The Hawkeye men’s track and field team will attend the UNI Open at UNI Dome in Cedar Falls, IA, on Feb. 2. The women’s team will take next week off, and will send a split squad to the Husker Classic at the Devaney Center in Lincoln, NE or the Meyo Invitational at the Loftus Center in South Bend, IN, Feb. 8-9.

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