Four Hawkeyes Advance To NCAA Finals

March 11, 2011

COLLEGE STATION, Texas – The University of Iowa men’s and women’s track and field teams completed the first day of competition at the 2011 Indoor NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas. Four men and two women ran at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium Friday on the campus of Texas A&M.

Four Hawkeyes advanced to the finals in their respective events, including sophomore Justin Austin in the 200 meters. The finals of the event was run Friday night, shortly after the preliminary race. Austin, a Milwaukee, Wis. Native, place fifth in the finals with a new school record time of 20.83 seconds.

Sophomore Jeff Thode ran one of the first races of the day, the men’s mile. Thode, the first Iowa Hawkeye to clock a sub-four-minute-mile, posted a time of 4:01.15 to qualify for the finals, scheduled to run Saturday. The Schaumburg, Ill. native ran the race in 3:58.72 to qualify for the national event.

Iowa 800 meter runners, Bethany Praska and Erik Sowinski, each qualified for the finals of the race with times posted in Friday’s prelims. Praska crossed the finish line in 2:05.01, setting the school record for the second consecutive week and third time this season, placing third in the women’s run. Sowinksi qualified for the final run with his time of 1:49.02.

McKenzie Melander, the first woman sporting Black and Gold to ever run the mile under 4:40.00, posted a time of 4:49.21 in the women’s preliminary mile run. Melander’s time was just shy of the final qualifying time.

Sophomore Jordan Mullen narrowly missed a shot at the national title by the slimmest of margins in the 60-meter hurdles. The Atlantic, Iowa native crossed the finish line in 7.78 seconds, edged out of the finals race by Wayne Davis II of Texas A&M who leaned in for a 7.77 finish.

The Hawkeye competitors that advanced to the finals will start competition Saturday evening at 5 p.m. The men’s 1,600-meter relay team did not compete Friday, but will join their teammates in competition tomorrow.