3 and Counting

May 27, 2011

EUGENE, Ore. — The University of Iowa track and field team advanced three competitors to the final rounds of NCAA competition following Friday’s quarterfinals at Historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Ore. Juniors Erik Sowinski and Jeffery Herron and sophomore Ethan Holmes are the first Hawkeyes to punch their tickets to Des Moines, Iowa. The Hawkeyes will compete in 10 more quarterfinal or first round events Saturday.

Herron tied for first place in the opening round of the high jump, clearing the bar at a career-high seven feet, one-quarter inch (2.14m). His new personal-best performance ranks fifth in school history and secured a spot in the NCAA final round at Drake Stadium June 8-11.

Sowinski earned an automatic spot in the 800 meter semifinals by placing third in his heat with a time of 1:48.88. Holmes nabbed the third and final at-large bid to the semis with his 50.70 performance in the 400-meter hurdles.

Holmes also earned a spot in Saturday’s 110-meter hurdles quarterfinals with a 13.73 effort in the opening round. Holmes finished third in his heat to earn an automatic bid.

Sophomore Justin Austin placed second in his heat to earn an automatic bid to Saturday’s 200 meters quarterfinal race. Austin, who had been questionable after injuring himself in Friday’s 100 meters, placed second in his heat with a time of 21.16.

Seniors Bethany Praska and Tiffany Hendricks each fell short of the NCAA semifinals in their respective individual events. Praska finished 10th overall in the 800 meters (2:06.178) and missed an at-large qualifying spot by .003 seconds. Three other qualifiers posted slower times, but each earned automatic bids by finishing in the top 3 of their respective heats. Praska finished fifth in her heat. Hendricks missed advancing in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 1:01.20. Praska and Hendricks will have another shot at advancing to Des Moines when the Hawkeyes’ 1,600-meter relay team hits the track tomorrow at 6:25 p.m. CT.

Senior Steven Willey clocked a 46.75 in the 400 meters to place 15th. Willey missed the 12-man cut for the semifinals but will get another crack at advancing to Des Moines in Saturday’s 1,600-meter relay. Willey was an All-American in both events in 2010.

Senior Adam Hairston concluded his Hawkeye career with a 1:51.38 performance in the 800 meter quarterfinals. Hairston will not advance to Des Moines, and wraps his career as Iowa’s all-time No. 4 performer in the outdoor 800 meters.

Senior Graham Valdez and sophomore Brandon Oest cleared the bar at 6-9 in the high jump, but both fell short of 6-11 and failed to qualify for the next round.

Junior Danielle Berndt set a school record and senior Hannah Roeder posted a personal best in the 3,000-meter steeple chase. Berndt clocked a 10:26.54 and Roeder finished in 10:35.22. Both athletes finished outside the top 12 qualifiers.

Junior Matt Banse fell just short of advancing to Eugene’s final round of 16 in the hammer throw. Banse finished 18th with a toss of 197-1 (60.09m). Sophomore Ben Stancombe recorded a toss of 182-4 (55.58m)

The Hawkeyes will have 10 more shots to qualify for the NCAA final site when they return to Historic Hayward Field tomorrow. Saturday’s quarterfinal and first round events include the women’s discus; men’s triple jump; men’s discus; men’s 400-meter relay; men’s 1,500 meters; men’s 110-meter hurdles; men’s 200 meters; women’s 5,000 meters; men’s and women’s 1,600-meter relay.

Live and complete results can be found at hawkeyesports.com.