Six Hawkeyes To Compete At NCAA Outdoor Championships

June 3, 2009

THIS WEEK — The University of Iowa men and women’s track teams will send six competitors to the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships, June 10-13 in Fayetteville, AR. Events are scheduled to start at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday and Thursday, 11 a.m. Friday and 10 a.m. Saturday. All events will be held at the University of Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field.

Tickets are $30 for general admission and $40 for reserved season, and are available from the University of Arkansas Athletics Ticket Office at 800/982-4647 or

IOWA’S NCAA QUALIFIERS — Six Hawkeyes have qualified for the NCAA Championships. Junior Adam Hairston (800 meters), sophomore Karessa Farley (100-meter hurdles) and freshman Betsy Flood (1,500 meters) earned automatic bids based on their top-five finishes at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Norman, OK, last month. Seniors Renee White (triple jump) and John Hickey (shot put) and junior Ray Varner (400-meter hurdles) earned at-large bids based on their season-best performances. Their events, qualifying marks and where they rank in the nation are listed below.

Name – Event – Mark – NCAA Rank
Adam Hairston – 800 Meters – 1:48.87 – 23rd
John Hickey – Shot Put – 60-1 3/4 (18.33) – 19th
Ray Varner – 400-M Hurdles – 50.54 – 15th
Karessa Farley – 100-M Hurdles – 13.34 – 21st
Betsy Flood – 1,500 Meters 4:24.91 – 27th
Renee White – Triple Jump – 43-10 3/4 (13.38) – 10th

IOWA IN NCAA CHAMPIONSHIPS HISTORY — The Iowa men’s track team has crowned 13 NCAA champions and 84 all-Americans. Its highest finish at the NCAA outdoor meet was a tie for seventh in 1967. The women’s team has crowned four NCAA champions and 59 all-Americans, and its highest finish at the NCAA outdoor meet was 10th in 1992.

IOWA CROWNS ALL-AMERICANS AT 2008 NCAA OUTDOORS — Iowa sent eight competitors to the 2008 NCAA Outdoor Championships in Des Moines, IA, and came away with four all-Americans. Senior Meghan Armstrong recorded Iowa’s highest finish of the meet, placing sixth in the 10,000 meters in 34:01.87. Junior Racheal Marchand ran a 34:05.87 to place eighth in that event. Senior Kineke Alexander earned her eighth career all-America honor in the 400 meters, placing eighth in 52.53. Senior Tammilee Kerr placed eighth in the heptathlon with a school-record 5,633 points.

Also placing for the Hawkeyes were junior Renee White in the triple jump (11th – 43-4 1/4), Kerr in the javelin (12th – 143-6), junior John Hickey in the shot put (16th – 57-10 1/2) and junior A.J. Curtis in the discus (17th – 167-5) and shot put (20th – 57-7). Senior Diane Nukuri ran second in the 10,000 meters for most of the race, but was forced to pull out with stomach cramps with about a mile remaining.

2009 NCAA MIDWEST REGIONAL REVIEW — Hawkeye junior Adam Hairston, sophomore Karessa Farley and freshman Betsy Flood earned automatic bids to the 2009 NCAA Outdoor Championships with their top-five finishes at the NCAA Midwest Regional May 29-30 in Norman, OK. Farley placed third in the 100-meter hurdles with a collegiate-best 13.34, which ranks second all-time at Iowa. Hairston placed fifth with a diving finish and collegiate-best 1:48.87, which ranks third in school history. Flood placed fourth in the 1,500 meters in 4:25.98. The men’s team placed 19th with 14 points, while the Iowa women placed 21st with 13.

Seniors Renee White (triple jump) and John Hickey (shot put), and junior Ray Varner (400-meter hurdles) earned NCAA at-large bids based on their season-best performances in those events. Varner placed sixth in the 400-meter hurdles (51.21), running a collegiate-best 50.54 that ranks fifth all-time at Iowa in the prelims. Hickey placed sixth in the shot put (58-11 1/4), while White placed 12th in the triple jump (41-7 1/4) and 13th in the long jump (19-2 1/2).

The men’s 400-meter relay of freshman D’Juan Richardson, sophomores Zeke Sayon and Stephen Bee and junior Paul Chaney, Jr. placed fifth in 40.33 after clocking a season-best 39.94 in the prelims. That time ranks third all-time at Iowa. Freshman McKenzie Melander also scored team points for the Hawkeye women, placing seventh in the 1,500 meters (4:30.83).

TRACKSTERS NAMED TO SPRING ACADEMIC ALL-BIG TEN LIST — Twenty-two Hawkeye track team members were recently named to the 2009 academic all-Big Ten list. To be eligible for an academic all-Big Ten selection, student-athletes must be letterwinners in at least their second academic year at their institution and carry a career grade point average of 3.0 or better. Three women’s team members – juniors Jolly Burke, Katie Elliis and Hannah Roeder – earned extra recognition for their perfect 4.0 grade-point averages.

Iowa’s honorees included graduate student Sarah Henize, seniors Brendan Camplin, A.J. Curtis, Jennie Docherty, Cannon Dolan, Rachel Hawks, Eric MacTaggart, Andy Napier and Mark Schaapveld, juniors Caleigh Bacchus, Burke, Ellis, Jesse Luciano, Roeder, Zachary Schimp and Rhonda-Kaye Trusty, and sophomores Connor Elmitt, Ryan Lamparek, Kelsey Mims, James Paul, Bethany Praska and Graham Valdes. MACTAGGART EARNS BIG TEN MEDAL OF HONOR — Winners of the Big Ten’s oldest award, the Medal of Honor, were recently announced by the Big Ten conference office. Among those honored were Iowa distance runner Eric MacTaggart and field hockey player Lauren Pfeiffer. First awarded in 1914, the Big Ten endowed a Medal of Honor to be given annually to a student in the graduating class of each university that demonstrated proficiency in scholarship and athletics. In 1982, the Medal of Honor was expanded to include a senior female athlete from each institution.

MacTaggart earned all-America honors in outdoor track and is a six-time NCAA qualifier. A three-time all-region honoree in cross country, he has been named to the academic all-Big Ten team four times during his Hawkeye career. The Glen Ellyn, IL, native was named the UI’s 2008 Robert F. Ray award winner, which is annually presented to a male and female student-athlete who demonstrate outstanding academic and athletic excellence and leadership. A music major, MacTaggart missed the 2007 cross country season to fulfill an academic requirement to play in the Hawkeye Marching Band.

VARNER NAMED BIG TEN TRACK ATHLETE OF THE WEEK — Junior Ray Varner was named the Big Ten’s Men’s Co-Track Athlete of the Week April 8, sharing honors with Purdue’s Josh Hembrough. It was Varner’s first weekly honor, and Iowa’s first track athlete honored since Andy Napier in 2008.

Varner earned accolades for his two regional qualifying performances at Auburn’s Tiger Track Classic. The Wadsworth, IL, native posted a third place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.82. Later in the meet, Varner anchored Iowa’s 1,600-meter relay team, helping them to a fifth-place finish of 3:09.70. The other members of the regional-qualifying relay team were sophomore Steven Willey, freshman Patrick Richards and sophomore Chris Barton.

HAWKEYE COACHING STAFF — The Hawkeye coaching staff has some new faces and responsibilities for the 2009 season. Larry Wieczorek is the men’s head track and cross country coach, and Layne Anderson is the women’s head track and cross country coach. The teams now share administrative responsibilities, coordinate their competition schedules and divide coaching responsibilities by event instead of gender.

Assistant Scott Cappos, who is in his 13th year at Iowa, will coach the throws, while third-year assistant Joey Woody will coach the men’s sprints, short hurdles and relays, and women’s long sprints and hurdles. First-year assistant Clive Roberts will coach the women’s short sprints, hurdles and relays, as well as the horizontal jumps for both groups. First-year assistant Christi Smith will direct the multi-events and vertical jumps.

MEN’S TEAM ANNOUNCES 2009 RECRUITING CLASS — The Hawkeye men’s track 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.

Holmes is the defending Class 4A state 400-meter hurdles champion (53.03), also winning that event at the 2008 Drake Relays. 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 (58-0) in the state of Indiana. 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. 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.

WOMEN’S TEAM ANNOUNCES 2009 RECRUITS — The Hawkeye women’s track team has signed eight student-athletes to national letters of intent for the 2010 season. Head Coach Layne Anderson is excited about the immediate impact that multi-event competitor Missy Miller (Tipton, IA), high jumpers Megan Glisar (Sergeant Bluff, IA) and Eva Greenwalt (Fitchberg, WI), distance runners Megan Ranegar (Valparaiso, IN) and Sarah Boyd (Dunrobin, Ontario), thrower Ashlyn Gulvas (Pinconning, MI), sprinter and jumpr Emily Moore (Gillette, WY) and sprinter Raven Moore (Riverdale, GA) will have on the Hawkeyes next season.

Boyd placed third at the 2007 OFSAA Cross Country Championships (17:56), and has lifetime bests of 2:14 (800 meters) and 4:39 (1500 meters indoor). Glisar is a three-time Class 3A high jump state champion who placed third at the 2007 Nike Outdoor National Championships (5-8 3/4) and won the 2007 USA Youth Outdoor high jump title. Greenwalt qualified for the 2008 state meet in four events, placing third in the high jump. Her lifetime best clearance in that event is 5-8. A 2008 state champion in both the shot put and discus, Gulvas has posted lifetime best performances of 45-3 in the shot and 140-6 in the discus.

Miller is a four-time Class 2A state champion in track, having qualified in the maximum 12 events for three state championships, and a four-time state qualifier in cross country. She is a 10-time Drake Relays qualifier, and was part of two state championship cross country and track teams. Emily Moore is an 11-time Class 4A state champion in the jumps and sprints. Wyoming’s 2008 Track and Field Gatorade Player of the Year, she holds state records in the long lump (19-2 1/2), triple jump (39-7 1/2) and as a part of the 400-meter relay (48.30). She is a two-time triple jump all-American at the Nike Outdoor National meet, placing fourth in 2007 and second in 2008. Raven Moore was a Class 1A state champion in both the 100 (11.80) and 200 meters (24.50). Ranegar was the 2007 State Cross Country Runner-up and placed 20th at the Footlocker Midwest Regional in a time of 18:24.

LUCIANO, CROSS COUNTRY TEAMS EARN HONORS — The Iowa cross country teams were named to the 2008 U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) all-academic team in March. Hawkeye junior Jesse Luciano also received individual all-academic honors.

The Iowa women’s team, who earned the honor for the sixth-straight season, had a combined GPA of 3.328 and is one of 162 teams to earn the award. The men’s team earned a team grade point average of 3.285 and is one of 110 teams to earn the award. For a team to be considered for the USTFCCCA all-academic team award, they must have competed and compiled a team score at an NCAA Regional Meet. The team must also have a minimum 3.00 team cumulative grade point average.

Luciano is one of 40 men’s cross country student-athletes to earn USTFCCCA all-academic honors. An accounting major from Villa Park, IL, he placed 15th at the NCAA Midwest Regional (31:32.55) and 43rd at the NCAA Championships (30:17.8). He has been named to the team for the second straight year. To be eligible for the award, a student-athlete must carry a minimum 3.25 cumulative grade point average and must finish in the top 15 (or top 10%) of the field at their respective NCAA regional meet or attain all-American status at the NCAA Championships.

The men’s cross country team was also among the NCAA Division I intercollegiate athletics programs singled out in April by the NCAA for ranking in the top 10 percent among their peers in the NCAA’s 2008 Academic Progress Rate. Every NCAA Division I institution calculates an APR for each athletics team each academic year. The APR provides a real-time look at a team’s academic success each semester or quarter by tracking the academic progress of each student-athlete. The APR includes eligibility, retention, and graduation in the calculation and provides a clear picture of the academic culture in each sport. The NCAA honored 767 Division I teams that earned multi-year APR scores in the top 10 percent of all squads in their respective sports, about 11.8 percent of all 6,484 Division I teams. Last year, 11.4 percent were recognized.

Head Coach Larry Wieczorek’s squad was one of 35 men’s cross country programs to rank among the Top 10 in APR among its peers and was joined by Michigan as the only Big Ten Conference programs included in that elite list.

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