Hawkeyes Running To Nationals

March 5, 2011


AMES, Iowa – The University of Iowa track and field teams sent competitors to the last chance meets held in Ames, Iowa and South Bend, Ind. A number of Hawkeye runners posted low times, but sophomore Jeff Thode’s time was low enough to automatically qualify and secure a place in the mile run at the National Championships.

Thode set the school record in the mile last weekend at the Big Ten Championships, running 4:02.00. The sophomore from Schaumburg, Ill. ran the mile in 3:58.72. Thode finished second at the Notre Dame last chance meet, but will be running in College Station, Texas next weekend at the NCAA 2011 Indoor Championships.

The men’s 1,600-meter relay team that ran at the Iowa State last chance event was the final group of Hawkeye runners to automatically qualify for the national competition next weekend. Junior Patrick Richards started on the gun and passed off to sophomore Ethan Holmes to run the second leg of the race. Erik Sowinski, a junior that also qualified in the 800, ran the third leg of the race, while senior Steven Willey brought it home for the Hawkeyes. The fast foursome ran the race in 3:06.66, a new school record time.

Junior McKenzie Melander and senior Bethany Praska set school records in the mile and 800 meters, respectively. The Hawkeye duo narrowly missed the automatic qualifying mark in their respective events, but may have punched tickets to the national championships with their superb times Saturday. Melander placed third in the mile at the Notre Dame last chance meet, posting a time of 4:39.78. Praska ran the 800 in 2:05.36 at the Iowa State last chance meet.

The Hawkeyes that did not post a time lower than the automatic qualifying mark will find out their fate on Monday, as the remainder of the qualifying runners for the National Championships will be announced then.

Iowa’s automatic qualifiers prior to Saturday’s meets were Justin Austin (200), Troy Doris (triple jump) and Erik Sowinski (800).