Hawkeyes Bound for Blue Oval

June 6, 2011

Complete Release in PDF Format

Members of the University of Iowa track and field team are set to compete at the NCAA Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, this week. Thirteen student-athletes will fight for a national title at Drake Stadium June 8-11.

Results throughout the week will be available on hawkeyesports.com or godrakebulldogs.com.

The entire event will be streamed live through both NCAA.com and GoDrakeBulldogs.com.

Junior Jeffery Herron tied for the top-finish at the NCAA Regionals in Eugene, Ore., last weekend with a lifetime best leap of 7-0 1/4 (2.14m). Herron cleared the bar with his first attempt at that height. The Richmond, Texas native advances to the finals of the high jump competition as the first Hawkeye to accomplish the feat.

Sophomore Ethan Holmes has the opportunity to run for an NCAA title in three events. The first event on the track is the 400-meter hurdles. Qualifying with a time of 50.70, Holmes runs at 8:30 p.m. Wednesday. Thursday night at Drake Stadium brings the chance to advance in both the 110-meter hurdles (13.80) and the 1,600-meter relay (3:07.58).

Thirteen student-athletes advanced to the final round of the NCAA Championships after posting top-12 marks in Eugene. In addition to Herron and Holmes, five individual competitors and two relays will showcase their talents in Des Moines.

The men’s and women’s 1,600-meter relay teams will each run in Des Moines. The men’s team, made up of junior Patrick Richards, Holmes, junior Erik Sowinski and senior Steven Willey, clocked a 3:07.58 to place sixth in the preliminary race. The Hawkeye women, seniors Bethany Praska and Tiffany Hendricks, freshman Ashley Liverpool and junior Nicole Erickson, made the cut with a time of 3:37.27.

Sowinski also qualified individually as an 800 meter runner. The Waukesha, Wis., native placed third in his heat, earning an automatic spot with a time of 1:48.88.

Junior Troy Doris will try to become a two-time all-American in Saturday’s triple jump. Doris, who placed sixth at the indoor NCAA Championships, won the competition at the West Regional with a mark of 53-3 3/4 (16.25m) to secure a spot in the finals.

Sophomore Justin Austin, the Big Ten 200 meter champion, posted a time of 21.08 at the West Regional to place eighth and punch his ticket to the semifinals.

Distance runners Betsy Flood and Brooke Eilers will both have to opportunity to fight for an NCAA title in the 5,000 meter run. Flood clocked a lifetime best of 16:04.46 during the preliminary run while Eilers finished in a career best time of 16:11.86.

Junior Betsy Flood will be reunited with her track-running sister, Katie Flood, in their hometown of Des Moines Wednesday. Both Floods advanced from the West Regional, Betsy in the 5,000 and Katie in the 1,500. Katie is a freshman at the University of Washington.

Following a breakout season, Holmes earned the distinction of the only collegiate student-athlete to qualify for the NCAA Championships in the 400- and 110-meter hurdles. The Clinton, Iowa native posted times of13.80 (110 hurdles) and 50.70 (400 hurdles) to take 12th place in each event and punch his ticket to Des Moines. The accomplishment marks the first time in school history that a student-athlete has qualified for the NCAA Championships in both events during the same season. Holmes will also be running the 1,600-meter relay.

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.

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. Iowa’s first Big Ten title was in 1963.

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 conference crown. Byers also holds the conference record in the javelin (245-8).

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 conference crown since 2003.

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.

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.

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.