May 30, 2009
NORMAN, OK – Saturday Finals at the NCAA Midwest Regional gave five more Iowa athletes a shot at advancing to the NCAA Championships next weekend in Fayetteville, AR. The final team finish for the men is 19th with 14 points, while the women finished 21st with 13 points.
Automatic qualifiers include sophomore Karessa Farley in the 100-meter hurdles (3rd, 13.34), freshman Betsy Flood in the 1,500 meters (4th, 4:25.98), and junior Adam Hairston with a diving finish in the 800 meters (5th, 1:48.87). Farley and Hairston’s finishes are collegiate bests and further secure their standings at second (Farley) and third (Hairston) all-time at Iowa in their respective events.
Senior Renee White finished 12th in the triple jump (41-7 1/4), which gives her a chance at an at-large bid for the NCAA Championships, as well as junior Ray Varner in the men’s 400-meter hurdles (6th, 51.21). They are joined by senior John Hickey, who is also hoping for an at-large bid following his performance in the shot put finals (6th, 58-11 1/4) on Friday.
Despite the performances of Hairston and Varner, missed opportunities for the men’s team and a disqualification in the 1,600-meter relay led their 19th place finish.
Men’s Head Coach Larry Wieczorek was still very positive about the weekend overall though.
“We finished off what I thought was an excellent weekend. For the most part, our group on the track was largely underclassmen and they really stepped it up. Looking back on this weekend, I see it as a turning point towards making our program even stronger and more competitive.”
Iowa’s formidable group of throwers faced some of the toughest competition they’ve seen all season and couldn’t muscle their way towards the top. Freshman Matt Banse was the lone Hawkeye in the hammer (24th, 165-6) with freshman Ryan Lamparek (11th, 174-11), senior A.J. Curtis (12th, 173-5), and freshman Nick Brayton (16th, 168-11) in the discus.
The 400-meter relay squad of freshman D’Juan Richardson, sophomores Zeke Sayon, Stephen Bee, and junior Paul Chaney, Jr., couldn’t repeat their stellar Friday performance, but still earned points for Iowa finishing in 5th with a mark of 40.33. The equally formidable 1,600-meter relay squad of Varner, sophomore Steven Willey, freshman Erik Sowinski, and sophomore Chris Barton were unfortunately disqualified from their race.
Joining Flood in the 1,500 meters was freshman teammate McKenzie Melander (7th, 4:30.83), who managed to help put some points on the board for Iowa. Junior Hannah Roeder did well in the 3,000 steeplechase all season for Iowa and placed in the middle (13th, 10:40.85) of a crowded pack of runners.
Even though the women’s squad only had five competitors this weekend, Head Coach Layne Anderson knows their drive and determination made up for what they might have lacked in numbers.
“We had an outstanding weekend. I thought all of our girls did great and they’re all competing very well. I think Renee [White] has a good shot of getting an at-large bid with her great season marks in the triple jump, and I’m very happy for Betsy [Flood] and Karessa [Farley] as well.”
At-large bids will be granted early next week, and then all of Iowa’s qualifying athletes will compete in the 2009 NCAA Championships, June 10-13 in Fayetteville, AR. All events will be held at the University of Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field. For ticket information contact the University of Arkansas Athletics Ticket Office at 800/982-4647 or www.arkansasrazorbacks.com