Jan. 19, 2016
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By JORDAN BUCHER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — In the early stages of 2016, the University of Iowa middle distance and hurdle groups have capitalized on the momentum built in the final month of the 2015 season.
Senior Mitch Wolff earned all-America honors in the men’s 400-meter hurdles in his final race of the season at the 2015 NCAA Outdoor Championships. He also ran a leg of the 1,600-meter relay that recorded Iowa’s fastest time at the NCAA meet since 2012.
Wolff opened the 2016 season taking third in the 400 meters at the Border Battle on Jan. 9. He then won the 600 meters at the Iowa Dual on Jan. 16.
“As a team captain and leadoff runner of that relay, he has been a spectacular leader for this group,” said assistant coach Jason Wakenight. “He helps the younger guys adjust to the rigors of training and helps set the tone day in and day out.”
“Noah and Nicholas are arguably the two most improved athletes on the entire men’s team,” Wakenight said. “We are a much better team with the emergence of those guys as potential point scorers in the upcoming months.
“With the addition of blue chip freshmen Mar’yea and DeJuan, we are going to be more talented in this event area than we have ever been. I expect us to be a handful for the rest of the conference. The last group of guys we had with this type of firepower won the Big Ten title.”
The men’s middle distance group of senior Will Teubel, and sophomores Carter Lilly and Ryan Dorman are poised to make a statement at the Big Ten and NCAA levels. Lilly and Teubel return as Big Ten point-scorers in the 600 and 800 meters.
“Will and Carter form a one-two punch that we haven’t seen since Adam Hairston and (Erik) Sowinski when they were helping lead us to a Big Ten Title in 2011. Those are nationally elite athletes,” Wakenight said.
“Ryan is the guy nobody knows about yet, but he is one of the best kept secrets in the Big Ten. I am thrilled with the progress he has made this fall.”
“Pavlo and Drake are going to be household names at the Big Ten level right away,” Wakenight said. “They are the two best high school mid-distance prospects we’ve signed in the last twenty years at Iowa.”
“Our women’s mid-distance runners have made some tremendous improvements this fall,” Wakenight said. “Jordyn Sindt has reinvented herself and will strengthen our distance medley relay. She is going be running personal bests every time out.
“Kaitlyn is way ahead of where she was last year and should be in line for a nice start to her indoor season. Mahnee is going to add a new dimension to our team that we were missing last year. I’ve seen some flashes of brilliance; she has the makings of a Big Ten medalist.”
The middle distance crew and the rest of the Hawkeyes return to action Saturday at the Big 4 Duals in Ames, Iowa.