Wieczorek, Austin Lead Long List of Big Ten Honorees

May 18, 2011

IOWA CITY, Iowa — University of Iowa head track and field coach Larry Wieczorek has been named Big Ten Coach of the Year and sophomore Justin Austin has been named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Outdoor Championships. A total of 14 Hawkeyes were named to the all-Big Ten teams announced today.

The Coach of the Year honor is the first for Wieczorek and the first in Iowa program history. Wieczorek led Iowa to its first Big Ten Outdoor Championship since 1967 when his team rallied from a 53½ point deficit to top Minnesota, 125.5-123. The Hawkeye men crowned three champions and earned medals in 11 events while setting a program record for total points at a conference outdoor championship.

Austin contributed 21 points to Iowa’s record total following his performances in the 100m, 200m and 400-meter relay. He broke a 28-year old school record en route to his 200 meter Big Ten title (20.46) and captured a third place finish in the 100 meters with a school record performance of 10.21. He also anchored the 400-meter relay to a fourth place finish.

Austin is just the fourth Hawkeye in program history to earn either Athlete of the Year or Track Athlete of the Championship honors. Anthuan Maybank was the last Hawkeye to earn Athlete of the Year honors (1993) and Tim Dwight is the last Hawkeye named Athlete of the Championships (1999). Pat McGhee won both awards in 1989.

“That’s just the icing on the cake,” Wieczorek said of the Coach of the Year honor. “It’s been a remarkable season. To have Justin win both Athlete of the Year and Athlete of the Championships speaks volumes to where this program is at and where we’re headed.”

Seven Hawkeyes were named to the all-conference first team, including senior Bethany Praska, who captured Big Ten titles in the 800 meters and 1,600-meter relay. Nicole Erickson, Tiffany Hendricks and Ashley Liverpool were also members of the winning relay and all-Big Ten first team.

Austin, Matt Byers and Troy Doris represented the Hawkeye men on the first team. Austin was recognized for his first place performance in the 200 meters. Byers earned first team honors after winning the Big Ten title in the javelin for the second time in as many years. Doris captured the Big Ten title in the triple jump to earn first team honors.

Betsy Flood, Majesty Tutson and the men’s 1,600-meter relay team (Chris Barton, Ethan Holmes, Erik Sowinski, Steven Willey) earned second team conference honors. Tutson set the school record en route to her second place finish in the discus. Flood captured a pair of silver medals in the 10,000- and 5,000 meters and the men’s 1,600-meter relay clinched the men’s team title with a second place finish in the final event of the Championships.

“The number of student-athletes on the all-Big Ten team is indicative of the complete team performance we had from both the men’s and women’s programs,” said Wieczorek. “Even had we not won the men’s team title, I think the level of talent on our campus is represented by the all-conference teams. These student-athletes are amazing representatives of our program and the entire university.”

Bethany Praska won two conference titles at the 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Tutson and Zeke Sayon were each honored with the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award. The honor is awarded to student-athletes who have distinguished themselves through sportsmanship and ethical behavior. In addition, the student-athletes must be in good academic standing and have demonstrated good citizenship outside of the sports-competition setting. Tutson and Sayon are now candidates for the Big Ten Sportsmanship Award, as the conference office will honor one male and one female student-athlete from each institution at the end of the school year.

Track Athlete of the Year: Justin Austin, IOWA
Coach of the Year: Larry Wieczorek, IOWA
Track Athlete of the Championships: Justin Austin, IOWA

Men’s All Big-Ten
First Team:
Justin Austin, IOWA
Matt Byers, IOWA
Troy Doris, IOWA

Second Team:
Chris Barton, IOWA
Ethan Holmes, IOWA
Erik Sowinski, IOWA
Steven Willey, IOWA

Sportsmanship Award Honoree
Zeke Sayon, IOWA

Women’s All-Big Ten
First Team:
Nicole Erickson, IOWA
Tiffany Hendricks, IOWA
Ashley Liverpool, IOWA
Bethany Praska, IOWA

Second Team:
Betsy Flood, IOWA
Majesty Tutson, IOWA

Sportsmanship Award Honoree
Majesty Tutson, IOWA