Melander Leads Iowa on Day 1

May 11, 2012

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Day 1 Results

MADISON, Wis. — University of Iowa senior McKenzie Melander placed second in her 10,000-meter debut at the Big Ten Championships on Friday evening at the Dan McClimon Memorial Track. Melander recorded the seventh-best time in school history with a time of 34:29. Teammate Megan Ranegar posted the 10th best performance in school history, crossing the finish line in 35:13. The duo’s performance launched the Iowa women into fourth place with nine points after Day 1 of the conference championships.

“Those were both strong scores at this meet,” said Iowa head coach Layne Anderson. “I’m pleased with the effort; those were nine valuable points. I thought McKenzie ran a great race for her first 10k. She started strong, held her composure and finished strong.”

“I just wanted to maintain a steady pace,” said Melander. “I knew I had some mile speed in me so I was trusting in that. I thought Megan ran great too and it’s always nice to get the team started and have something to get excited about for the rest of the weekend.”

University of Iowa senior Matt Banse went big on his first throw of the day and recorded a season-best mark of 198-5 (60.49) to grab eighth place in the men’s hammer. Banse entered the circle unseeded but left the event scoring one point towards Iowa’s team total.

“It feels good to contribute to the team,” said Banse. “I didn’t do as well as I did last year, but this was a crazy hammer throw competition and if you told me I was going to throw 60 meters and finish eighth I wouldn’t believe you. I just tried to get after it.”

Freshman Kevin Lewis just missed the scoreboard but turned in the fifth best time in school history with a 29.54 performance in the 10,000 meters.

“Great 10,000-meter debut for Kevin Lewis,” said director of track of field Larry Wieczorek. “He has a tremendous future because he has what every great athlete and distance runner needs, heart and guts.

“And we saw some of the same from Matt Banse. He wasn’t seeded on paper, but he went out and got us a point and they’re all huge.”

Zinnia Miller and Sarah Ryan both recorded career-highs in the 100-meter hurdles while competing in the heptathlon. Miller recorded a time of 14.81 while Ryan crossed the finish in 14.93. Ryan will complete the heptathlon tomorrow with the long jump, javelin and 800 meters. Miller suffered a severe ankle sprain in the 200 meters and was forced to withdraw from competition.

“That was unfortunate because things were going well with Zinnia before the injury,” said Anderson. “She was looking forward to doing well tomorrow. She won’t return but we know Sarah will go out there and battle. She’s looking to finish strong and complete a great year of development.”

Jack Eckert is competing in the decathlon for the Hawkeyes. He sits in 14th place with five events remaining.

“Today was a good day for Jack,” said Wieczorek. “He put together a good effort and he’s in position to move tomorrow.”

Day 2 of the Big Ten Championships begins tomorrow at 9:30 a.m. The multi-events kick off the competition. Running and field events begin at 1:20 p.m.