Feb. 25, 2009
IOWA CITY, IA — The University of Iowa men’s track and field team has signed four student-athletes to national letters of intent for the 2010 season. Head Coach Larry Wieczorek is excited about the immediate impact that hurdler Ethan Holmes (Clinton, IA), distance runner Jeff Thode (Hoffman Estates, IL) and throwers Ben Stancombe (Bloomington, IN) and Matt Byers (Wichita, KS) will have on the Hawkeyes next season.
“Three of the four student-athletes are ranked in the top 10 nationally in their event,” explained Wieczorek. “We are especially excited to sign Ethan, as he is one of the top competitors coming out of Iowa this year. Add these four to the outstanding freshman class we currently have competing for us is encouraging. It gives us a lot to be excited about for the future of Iowa track.”
Holmes is the defending Class 4A state 400-meter hurdles champion (53.03), also winning that event at the 2008 Drake Relays. He is one of the top 20 competitors nationally in that event. He placed second in the 110-meter hurdles and as part of Clinton High School’s 800 and 1,600-meter relays at the 2008 state meet.
Stancombe is one of the top five returning hammer throwers (202-0) and one of the top nine weight throwers (67-10) in the nation. Competing for South High School, he is also the top returning shot putter in the state of Indiana. Coached by former all-Big Ten thrower Wil Fleming, Stancombe has posted marks of 58-0 in the shot put and 170-6 in the discus.
Byers is one of the top three returning javelin throwers in the nation, recording a personal-best 219-8. He placed second at the Class 6A Kansas state championships, the USTAF Junior Championships and the USATF Junior Olympics last season. A three-sport athlete, Byers also played football and basketball for East High School.
Thode is the fourth Illinois state cross country champion to join the Hawkeyes in recent years. He won the large school class at the 2008 state meet in November with a time of 14:18 on the three-mile course. He is also one of the top six returning milers in the nation, posting a 4:10.80 last spring.