Hawkeyes Prepare for Championship Phase

April 19, 2011

Media Day Photo Gallery (April 19) | Preparing for Musco XII

Meet Information & Schedule of Events | Complete Release

IOWA CITY, Iowa — Fireworks are planned at the conclusion of the 12th running of the Musco Twilight Invitational on Saturday at Cretzmeyer Track.

University of Iowa head coaches Larry Wieczorek and Layne Anderson are looking for explosiveness during the meet as well.

“I’m hoping there will be fireworks in a lot of different events,” said Wieczorek, the Hawkeye men’s coach.

“We hope the fireworks happen long before the end of the meet,” added Anderson, the Hawkeye women’s coach.

Field events begin at 2 p.m.; running events at 3:30 and finals at approximately 6. Joining the Hawkeyes are Drake, Illinois (men), Iowa State, Minnesota, North Central, Northern Iowa and Western Illinois.

There promises to be plenty of exciting competition, including a possible 110-meter high hurdle battle between 2010 NCAA national champion Andrew Riley of Illinois and Iowa’s Jordan Mullen, who ranks second in the Big Ten with a time of 13.79.

“I’m hoping he comes down,” said Mullen, a native of Atlantic, Iowa. “It makes me more determined. He’s faster than me on paper and if I can run with him, it pushes me to get more focused for the race and more determined.”

Mullen intends to avenge a defeat to Riley at the LSU Invitational earlier this month.

“If he comes, I can try to get in his head, because I didn’t get in his head at LSU,” Mullen said. “I ran like garbage down there.”

Riley was runner-up in the race in 13.61; Mullen was fifth in 14.27.

Anderson said the Hawkeye women are looking for big things in the 3,000, 800 and 400. Bethany Praska, the school record-holder in the 800 (2:05.46), is ranked first in that event in the conference and fourth in the 400 (54.15), two spots behind teammate Ashley Liverpool.

“This year all the hard work is starting to pay off,” Praska said. “It’s coming together at the right time. It’s exciting to have a meet on our home turf.”

The Hawkeyes are in the “championship” portion of their season, with Musco, Drake Relays (April 28-30) and Big Ten Championships (May 13-15) coming up within the next four weeks.

“It means a lot to me personally because it’s a way of promoting track and field and showing the sport of track and field off through the years — we’ve tried to do that,” Wieczorek said. “At this time of year we’re going to educate our team on the fact that it’s getting later than they think. Some time they need a little wakeup; they don’t realize that it’s coming to an end in a hurry and you have to be on top of your performances.”

While Praska sits on top of the leaderboard in the Big Ten 800, two Hawkeye men are setting the pace in their respective events. D’Juan Richardson has run 51.12 in the 400 hurdles and Matt Byers has established a school and league record in the javelin (245-feet-8).

“It’s time to show off in front of everybody,” Byers said. “I had a week off to rest, so I feel like I’m going to come out there and throw far — that’s the plan.”

Anderson would like to see the 400-meter relay run faster than 45.77 and for Carisa Leacock to go farther than 19-11 ½ in the long jump. “We’re in a good place,” Anderson said. “We’re healthy, the kids have competed well up to this point and this is the time of the season when you begin to expect the best of people and we’re ready to do that.”

Children in attendance will be able to race Herky the Hawk at approximately 6:15. Visit a UI marketing representative for registration information. Beginning at 5:30 p.m., free t-shirts will be distributed to the first 250 fans. UI students and youth 18 and younger are admitted free. Admission is $3 for adults.

A tape-delay broadcast of the meet airs on the Big Ten Network on Sunday, May 8, at 6 p.m. (CT).

Iowa is also the host school for the Big Ten Championships.