May 24, 2011
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The University of Iowa track and field team travels to Eugene, Ore. to compete at the NCAA West Regional, May 26-28. The student-athletes will work to secure a place on the final NCAA Championships performance list at the Historic Hayward Field on the campus of Oregon University. The championships will be held in Des Moines, Iowa, June 8-11.
33 student-athletes were chosen to participate in the NCAA Regional. Selections were based on the top-48 performances in each event throughout the western region.
The men’s team will feature 20 student-athletes in 13 individual events and two relays. The number of qualifiers ties Iowa’s record for qualifiers in a single season set last year when 20 student-athletes advanced to the NCAA Regional in Austin, Texas. The Hawkeyes have individuals ranked among the top-10 in six events.
The women’s team sends 13 student-athletes to compete in nine individual events and a relay. Freshmen Ashley Liverpool and Carisa Leacock are the lone newcomers to compete for Iowa at the regional event.
The University of Oregon will provide a free webcast of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds on its website, www.goducks.com. The webcast will commence at 3:30 p.m. Thursday, 3 p.m. Friday and 1 p.m. Saturday.
Live results can be found on the track and field schedule page at hawkeyesports.com.
THE WHOLE NINE YARDS
Nine Hawkeyes will compete in more than one event, including Justin Austin (100, 200, 4×100), Ethan Holmes (110 hurdles, 400 hurdles, 4×400), Chris Barton (400, 4×400), Steven Willey (400, 4×400), Erik Sowinski (800, 4×400), Jeffrey Herron (long jump, high jump), Liverpool (400, 4×400), Tiffany Hendricks (400 hurdles, 4×400) and Bethany Praska (800, 4×400).
THE BIG TEN CHAMPIONS
The men’s team was crowned Big Ten Champion at the outdoor conference meet held in Iowa City May 13-15. The Hawkeyes clinched the title over Minnesota with a second place finish in the final race of the three-day competition. The Hawkeyes trailed by just half a point entering the 4×400-meter relay.
The first place finish marks the first time since 1967, and third time in school history, that the University of Iowa men’s team earned the distinction. Head Coach Larry Wieczorek was on the previous Big Ten Championship team.
COACH OF THE YEAR
Head men’s track and field coach Larry Wieczorek was named the Big Ten Conference’s Coach of the Year following his team’s historical finish at the outdoor championships. The veteran head coach, in his 24th year at Iowa, earned the honor for the first time in his career after leading his team to its first conference title since 1967.
Sophomore Matt Byers became the 19th Hawkeye in school history to score consecutive Big Ten Championship titles in the same event. Byers, a two-time NCAA regional qualifier in the javelin, launched the javelin 235-4 (71.73m) to take the 2011 crown.
PRASKA IS GOLDEN
Senior Bethany Praska was the first Iowa woman to claim a Big Ten Championship since 2009 when she secured the gold medal with a time of 2:05.63 in the 800 meter run. Praska, a school record holder in the event, also set a Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track record with the time.
With the final race of the 2011 outdoor championships, Praska ran the lead leg of the women’s 1,600-meter relay team that also claimed gold. The Hawkeyes-Praska, Tiffany Hendricks, Nicole Erickson and Ashley Liverpool, crossed the finish line in 3:36.15, also a facility record, and became the first women’s relay team to capture a confernce crown since 2003.
IS HE FLYING?
Junior Troy Doris flew through the air during the triple jump competition to land 53-8 1/2 feet (16.37m) into the sand pit at the Big Ten Championships. The Bollingbrook, Ill., native earned a first place finish in the triple jump and a place atop the victor’s stand to match his finish at the indoor conference championships. Doris’ mark is a school record and ranks No. 7 in the country.
200 METERS TO GOLD
Sophomore Justin Austin ran the fastest 200 meters in Iowa history to clinch a gold medal at the conference championships. Austin pulled away from the pack during the last 50 meters to clock a 20.46, the sixth fastest time in the country. The first place time was also a facility record.
THIRD RECORD FOR TUTSON
Sophomore Majesty Tutson wasn’t satisfied with the school record she set at the Sun Angel Classic, so she set a new record with her first throw in the women’s discus competition at the Big Ten Championships. The mark, 167-11 3/4 (51.25), was bested by Tutson’s fifth throw of the day which landed 172-4 feet (52.52m) from the circle. The Iowa City native’s efforts earned her a second place in the event and a third school record of the season.
25 LAPS AROUND THE TRACK
Junior Betsy Flood braved the weather conditions during the conference championships and ran the two longest races of the weekend in the 10,000 meters (25 laps) and 5,000 meters (12.5 laps). Flood, a native of Des Moines, Iowa, finished runner-up in both events, clocking times of 35:05.10 and 16:12.01, respectively.
Despite the fact it was Flood’s collegiate debut in the 10k, her time ranks eighth all-time, while her time in the 5k is the fourth fastest in program history.
AUSTIN’S IMMEDIATE IMPACT
At the conclusion of his first year on the team, Austin was named the Big Ten Conference’s Athlete of the Championships and Athlete of the Year for his contribution to the Iowa track and field team.
Austin is just the fourth Hawkeye in program history to earn the distinction of the Big Ten’s athlete of the year or championships. The conference athlete of the year scored 21 points in the team’s Championship-winning efforts at the outdoor meet.
WHEN THE SCHOOL RECORD ISN’T ENOUGH
Sophomore Matt Byers broke a nine-year old javelin school record at the LSU Invite (April 2). Byers registered a toss of 245-8 (74.89) to best Bill Neumann’s 2002 school record (244-8), which also happened to be the Big Ten record. Byers won the Big Ten javelin title as a freshman last season and currently ranks No. 6 in the country.
BETHANY GETTING HISTORICAL
Senior Bethany Praska has made the most of her senior campaign. The Longmont, Colo., native set the 800 meter outdoor school record at the War Eagle Invitational with a 2:05.46 performance. Praska set the indoor 800 meter school record and captured a Big Ten 600 meter title during the indoor season. She also earned All-American honors following a seventh place finish at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
HEAD COACH Larry Wieczorek
Larry Wieczorek is in his 24th season as head men’s cross country coach and his 15th season as head men’s track and field coach at the University of Iowa. He served as an assistant track and field coach for 12 years before taking the helm in 1997.
HEAD COACH Layne Anderson
Layne Anderson is in his third year as head coach of the University of Iowa women’s cross country and track and field teams. He has served as the Hawkeyes’ head women’s cross country coach for the past seven seasons, and was the interim head women’s track and field coach in 2008.