Hawkeyes Aim Northwest for NCAA Championships

June 7, 2010

Complete NCAA Championship Release

Nine Hawkeyes will travel to Eugene, OR to compete in the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships. Ten qualifiers will compete in six events, including five individual events and one relay at Hayward Field on the campus of the University of Oregon. The four-day event runs Wednesday-Saturday. Non-televised portions of the Championships will be streamed live on NCAA.com. CBS College Sports will broadcast live Friday from 7-9 p.m. (CT). CBS will provide live coverage of the finals Saturday from 12-2 p.m. (CT).

NCAA Championship Qualifiers
Name Event NCAA Qualifying Mark
Chris Barton 1,600m relay 3:05.84
Matt Byers Javelin 67.28m
Betsy Flood 1,500 meters 4:20.20
Lauren Hardesty 1,500 meters 4:20.40
Ryan Lamparek Shot Put 17.78m
Patrick Richards 1,600m relay 3:05.84
Erik Sowinski 1,600m relay 3:05.84
Ray Varner 400m Hurdles 50:42
Steven Willey 1,600m relay 3:05.84
400 meters 45:78

The men’s 4×4 relay (Richards, Barton, Sowinski, Willey) has been a consistent force all season. Without much change to the formula, this group has finished in the top three in all six of their competitions this year, winning at the Tiger Track Classic (3:07.91) and Iowa Invitational (3:15.54).

Their second-place finish in the Drake Relays finals earned them their best time of the season (3:05.73). Sophomore Patrick Richards substituted for senior Ray Varner during the final day of the Drake Relays so Varner could focus on the 400-meter hurdles, but Richards more than picked up the slack, leading the Hawkeyes to their best time of the season and eventually helping the squad earn a second-place finish at the Big Ten Championships (3:07.75).

It’s the relay team’s tradition to play “Back in Black” before every race, echoing Iowa’s football team, and this relay squad will be aiming for postseason results similar to their football colleagues.

Head Coach Layne Anderson’s talented cross country squads have always been able to carry over their talents onto the track. This season, sophomore Betsy Flood and junior Lauren Hardesty will represent Iowa’s formidable distance group. Flood and Hardesty both scored points in the Big Ten Championships, with Flood placing fourth (4:17.75) and Hardesty eighth (4:22.81) in the 1,500 meters. Flood’s fourth-place finish at the conference championship is a collegiate best and vaulted the Des Moines, IA native to second on Iowa’s all-time top performance list. Hardesty now ranks eighth among Iowa’s top 1,500 meter performers following her collegiate-best effort (4:20.40) at the NCAA Preliminary meet.

“Ray [Varner] has been a pillar of our program for four years,” said Head Coach Larry Wieczorek following Varner’s Big Ten Championship in the 400-meter hurdles. “I was very pleased he could cap off his career at Iowa with his first Big Ten Championship.” Varner’s career at Iowa isn’t quite capped yet. The Wadsworth, IL native earned his second trip to the NCAA Championships in the 400-meter hurdles by placing 10th May 28th at the NCAA West Regional. Varner has been a model of consistency on this 2010 team, placing in the top three in each of his 400-meter hurdle competitions during the regular season, including four wins and a conference title. His best time this season (50.24) led the Big Ten and ranks third all-time at Iowa.

The bar for the 2010 outdoor season was set high for junior Steven Willey. Willey’s indoor season was capped off with an indoor school record in the 400 meters (46.75) at the NCAA Qualifier Meet in Ames, IA. The momentum from his indoor season certainly carried over, with Willey winning three out of six 400-meter races this season, including a Big Ten Championship (46.12). His Big Ten mark is a collegiate-best and ranks third all-time on the outdoor 400-meter performance list. Willey is the only Hawkeye this season to qualify for the NCAA Championships in two events. He is part of the men’s 1,600-meter relay squad and will run in the open 400m.

Betsy Flood is one of two Hawkeyes competing for a national championship in the 1,500 meters.

Iowa’s throws program has been highlighted by upperclassmen the past few years, but now it’s the young stars that are headlining the program, and sophomore Ryan Lamparek is one of those taking the reigns. Lamparek took the first step last season, qualifying for the NCAA Midwest Regional in the discus. This season he will move on to the NCAA Championships in the Shot Put behind a collegiate-best performance at the NCAA West Regional (58-4, 17.78m). Lamparek placed in the top three in the shot put in three of four regular-season meets and finished sixth at the Big Ten Championships (57-2, 17.42m). He led the team in the shot put (58-4, 17.78m) and discus (171-03, 52.19m) season.

Freshman Matt Byers will be one of three Iowa Big Ten Champions competing at the NCAA Championships, but Byers’ success has been less gradual and more of an explosion out of the gate. A conference champion in the javelin, Byers threw a 222-0 (67.66m) in his collegiate debut at the Tiger Track Classic, which ranked fourth all-time, then came out two weeks later to nearly break a school record, throwing a collegiate-best 232-2 (70.76m), which now puts him second all-time. That mark led the Big Ten all season. Following third-place finishes at the Drake Relays and Musco Twilight XI, Byers earned his spot at the top of the Big Ten by winning a conference championship (220-6, 67.22m). Byers became Iowa’s fifth Big Ten javelin champ and the first since Iowa’s record-holder in that event, Bill Neumann, earned his second consecutive Big Ten championship in 2003.