Feb. 12, 2011
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Ames, IA – The University of Iowa track and field teams finalized competition at the Iowa State Classic in Ames and the Huskie Invite in Spokane, Washington Saturday. Three Hawkeyes travel back to Iowa City with school records, while four others return champions. Erik Sowinski qualified for the NCAA championships in the 800-meter run bringing the current tally of Hawkeyes to automatically qualify to three. Justin Austin (200-meters) and Troy Doris (triple jump) also automatically qualified.
The men’s team split competitors between Ames and Spokane, Washington. Sophomore Jeff Thode and junior Sowinski traveled to the Huskie Invite and left the Northwest with a great impression of Hawkeye runners.
Thode made his debut in the 3,000-meters, running a time of 8:00.38, and Sowinski competed in the 800, finishing the race in 1:47.98. Both Iowa student-athletes return to Iowa with school records in their respective events. In addition to the new record in the 800-meters, Sowinksi, a Waukesha, Wisconsin native, is the third student-athlete wearing Black and Gold to punch their ticket to the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas.
“Jeff and Erik ran great today,” said Head Coach Larry Wieczorek who accompanied the two Hawkeyes to Washington. “They really did a super job. We did some great things in Washington and in Ames this weekend. Our guys really represented Iowa well this weekend.”
In Ames, the men’s team fared just as well with three champions. Austin, a Hawkeye newcomer but no newcomer to winning races, finished the 60-meters in 6.72 just .01 second shy of the school record he set two weeks ago.
Senior all-American Steven Willey claimed the title in the 400-meters with a time of 46.91. Junior Patrick Richards also ran in the event, finishing fifth overall after he crossed the line in a season best time of 47.35 seconds.
The final champions on the men’s side of things were the men in the 1,600-meter relay team. Richards started off the race before passing the baton off to sophomore Ethan Holmes. Senior Chris Barton ran the third leg of the event and Willey anchored the winning team. The Hawkeyes finished the race in 3:08.85, a season best time for the foursome.
Iowa women competed equally as well as the men’s team, boasting a school record setting performance and three finishes among Iowa’s all-time top performers.
Senior Bethany Praska set the tone for the Hawkeye women Saturday as she ran the 800-meters in 2:06.20, setting a program record. The previous record was set by Jeanne Kruckeberg in 1989 when she ran the race in 2:06.38.
Freshman Micaela Haight posted a career best mark in the shot put. The Iowa City native hit 45-9 (13.49m) in the competition earning herself a spot on Iowa’s all-time top performers list. Fellow Iowa newcomer Ashley Liverpool also ran a career best time of 54.24 in the 400-meters.
The Black and Gold had two student-athletes finish in the top-10 of the mile race. McKenzie Melander set a personal record in the event with her fifth place time of 4:42.54, a time that moves her up to fourth on Iowa’s all-time top performers list. Lauren Hardesty finished sixth in the race with a season best time of 4:42.56.
Finishing the day off was the 1,600-meter relay team. Senior Tiffany Hendricks, Praska, Nicole Erikson and Liverpool ran the relay in 3:40.42, finishing second. The foursome set the school record in the event at 3:39.15 two weeks ago at the Razorback Invite.
“Start to finish it was a solid meet with a number of our top ladies posting some lifetime and seasonal bests,” Head Coach Layne Anderson said. “We look to carry great momentum forward into the championship portion of our schedule.”
Next week, the Hawkeyes host the Iowa Invite at the University of Iowa Rec Building on Friday, Feb. 18.