Iowa Takes 10th in Mile Relay

June 10, 2011

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DES MOINES, Iowa – Iowa student-athletes were back on the track at Drake Stadium for the second day of competition at the NCAA Championships. After intense rain and lightning, the meet was suspended until Friday morning. The men’s 1,600-meter relay team ran at 11 a.m. Friday prior to Friday’s scheduled events.

The Hawkeyes started the relay with senior All-American Steven Willey. Junior Patrick Richards took the baton for the second leg before handing off to classmate Erik Sowinski for the third lap. Senior Chris Barton anchored the relay and moved the team into fourth in the heat and crossed the finish line at 3:05.64, the best time of the season for the foursome. The competition was fast, with the top eight teams all running under 3:05. Iowa placed tenth overall.

“Obviously we had expected bigger things for this weekend,” coach Joey Woody said. “We had high hopes coming in and not getting anyone into the finals is disappointing. But, we still have the high jump and the triple jump so hopefully those guys can do some things today. Definitely disappointing, especially after the indoor season we had we expected our 4×400 team to make the final but we still had our best performance of the year. It wasn’t a terrible weekend because a couple guys had personal records, but we just have to get to that mentality of taking it to the next level.”

The women’s 1,600-meter relay team looked to seniors Bethany Praska and Tiffany Hendricks to set the pace for the relay with Praska starting on the gun and Hendricks carrying the stick for the second quarter mile. Freshman Ashley Liverpool rounded the track as the third leg and junior Nicole Erickson anchored, crossing the finish line at 3:38.98, seventh in the heat. The quartet failed to reach the NCAA medal stand but finished the season with a school record and a Big Ten Championship.

Austin, an indoor All-American in the 200, placed third in his heat of the 200 meters after crossing the line in 20.73. He would have finished .04 seconds away from first team All-America honors, but he was disqualified following the race for stepping out of his lane. The Hawkeye sophomore ended his season with a pair of school records and a 200 meter Big Ten Championship.

Sophomore Ethan Holmes clocked a 14.06 in the men’s 110-meter high hurdles semifinals. Holmes, the only collegian to qualify for the semifinals in both the 110- and 400-meter hurdles, wrapped his hurdles season with a pair of Big Ten silver medals.

“We had a great season so we can’t be too disappointed with anything,” Woody said. “Coming off the Big Ten Championships sometimes you’re on such a high it can be hard to restart that, but we went out to Oregon and ran through it to make it here, so overall it was a great season.”

Juniors Jeffery Herron, Betsy Flood and Brooke Eilers will compete Friday evening for a chance at an NCAA crown. Herron will be featured in the finals of the men’s high jump competition after jumping 7-0 ¼ to qualify at the regional. Flood and Eilers will both run the women’s 5,000 meters. The distance duo recorded personal-best times of 16:04.46 and 16:11.86, respectively, to earn a spot in the NCAA finals. The high jump is scheduled for 5:20 p.m. and the 5,000 meters will run at 8:10 p.m.