May 29, 2009
NORMAN, Okla. — The University of Iowa’s regional qualifiers began a weekend of competition at the NCAA Midwest Regional Meet, hosted by the University of Oklahoma. Friday saw a bevy of strong performances for Iowa, with Senior John Hickey scoring points for the men’s team and seven athletes qualifying for final events to be held on Saturday. The men’s team is currently in 19th with three points while the women’s team has no points at the end of day one.
Hickey put Iowa on the board with his sixth-place finish in the men’s shot put finals (58-11 1/4), with senior teammate A.J. Curtis barely missing a top-eight finish (9th, 56-3). Hickey’s finish will give him a chance at an at-large bid for the NCAA Championship, with the recipients of the bids to be announced early next week. Curtis will have a shot at redemption on Saturday though, as he will be set to participate in the discus finals. Junior Zachary Schimp also competed in the javelin finals (17th, 194-8) as well as senior Renee White (13th, 19-2 1/2) in the long jump. White also will have another chance to earn points for Iowa, as she is competing on Saturday in the triple jump ranked third in the region and seventh in the NCAA.
Sophomore Karessa Farley was the only other representative from the women’s squad competing on Friday, qualifying for Saturday’s 100-meter hurdle finals (7th, 13.67).
Women’s Head Coach Layne Anderson said, “We only had two people going today, but I’m happy with today’s results. I’m happy for Karessa [Farley], she got done what she needed to do today. I’m looking forward to tomorrow’s opportunities.”
The men’s squad came out in force in Friday’s preliminary action. The 400-meter relay team of freshmen D’Juan Richardson, sophomore Zeke Sayon, junior Paul Chaney, Jr., and sophomore Stephen Bee clocked in with a seventh place finish of 39.94. It’s the best finish of any 400-meter relay squad for Iowa this season and the mark ranks third all-time at Iowa.
The ever-reliable juniors Adam Hairston and Ray Varner raised their placement in the Iowa record books, qualifying for their respective events’ finals on Saturday. Hairston cruised to an eighth place finish in the 800 meters with a mark of 1:49.15 that moves him to third all-time at Iowa in that event. Varner won his heat in the 400-meter hurdles, finishing third overall with a mark of 50.54 which moves him to fifth all-time at Iowa in that event. Varner will also be part of Saturday’s 1,600-meter relay team.
Chaney showed strong performances in the 100 and 200-meter preliminaries Friday, but failed to qualify for Saturday’s finals amidst a very competitive field. His 100-meter dash finish (14th, 10.46) ranks tenth all-time at Iowa, while his 200-meter mark (15th, 21.04) is a new collegiate-best. Likewise, sophomore Steven Willey performed well in the 400-meter preliminary round (13th, 46.67) but failed to qualify for Saturday’s action. Willey’s mark is a new collegiate-best and ranks ninth all-time at Iowa. Willey will however compete Saturday as part of the 1,600-meter relay team.
“We had a lot of good things happen today,” said Men’s Head Coach Larry Wieczorek. “Our 4×1 team was outstanding, a lot of our other guys had personal bests today, and [John] Hickey has a shot to get an at-large bid for the NCAA championships. I’m looking forward to our opportunities tomorrow.”
The men’s team will have 13 competitors in final events on Saturday. The others competing on Saturday are Chris Barton and freshman Erik Sowinski for the 1,600-meter relay, freshmen Ryan Lamparek and Nick Brayton in the discus, and freshman Matt Banse in the hammer.
The second and final day of the NCAA Midwest Regional is slated to begin at 11:00 a.m. CDT with the Men’s hammer throw and will end with the Men’s 1,600-meter relay finals at 8:20 p.m.