Watch for Falling Records

Feb. 17, 2011

Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.

IOWA CITY, Iowa — If records weren’t meant to be broken, the University of Iowa track team would have a lot of explaining to do. From sprints and relays to weight throws and triple jumps, school records are falling at an unprecedented pace.

Since the start of the 2011 indoor season, nine different event records have fallen — more than any other year in the history of the program. It doesn’t matter if the record has stood for 18 years or one week, no record is safe.

Justin Austin broke the 200-meter record previously held by Anthuan Maybank — a member of the Iowa Athletics Hall of Fame. Maybank’s school record of 21.11 had been collecting dust since 1993 before Austin turned in a time of 20.83.

Kurt Felix had a grip on the 60-meter record (6.73) for 12 years. Austin broke it by one one-hundredth of a second Jan. 22. He then separated himself from the pack by turning in a 6.71 one week later.

Erik Sowinski bumped teammate Adam Hairston from atop the 800 meter mountain with a 1:48.75 performance January 29. But just for good measure, he broke his own record with a 1:47.98 effort two weeks later.

The insatiable appetite of the Hawkeye runners has seemingly allowed them to pick their prey. Just last week, senior Bethany Praska told, “The school record in the 800 is (2:06.38)… it’s old and waiting to be broken.” Days later it was broken. Praska topped Jeanne Kruckeberg’s 1989 record with a 2:06.20 performance.

“These athletes are never satisfied,” said Larry Wieczorek, head coach of the men’s team since 1997. “I think to do as well as we’ve been doing, you need to have athletes that are intrinsically motivated and hungry to do well. This group is never satisfied.”

The Hawkeyes have broken at least one school record in four different meets. Austin, Steven Willey (600, 1:17.94) and Jordan Mullen (60m hurdles, 7.75) began rewriting the school record book at the Jack Johnson Classic January 21-22.

One week later at the Arkansas Razorback Invitational, Austin sketched his name in the 60 and 200 meter columns, Sowinski made his first of two appearances in the 800 meter chapter, Troy Doris broke a 21-year old triple jump mark (54-0, 16.46m) and Tiffany Hendricks, Nicole Erickson, Praska and Ashley Liverpool set the new standard in the 1,600-meter relay (3:39.15).

Jeff Thode set the 3,000 meter record at the Washington Husky invite February 15. Later that day Sowinski topped his own 800 meter record. Seventeen hundred miles closer to home, Praska made 800 meter history and Majesty Tutson set the weight throw record (58-4, 17.78m) at the Iowa State Classic.

The Hawkeyes host the Iowa Invite Friday night in the final competition before the Big Ten Indoor Championships February 26-27. The way things have been going, it may not be a matter of “if” another record will fall, or “when” another record will fall. The question is “which” record will fall?

“I’ve got to think the best is yet to come from them,” said Wieczorek. “They’re training hard. They’re getting good coaching and they believe in themselves. They expect to do well so I think we’re going to see more out of them.”