|IOWA CITY, Iowa — It has taken years of preparation and months of construction, but the University of Iowa track and field program is ready to unveil its new state-of-the-art indoor track.
Under the direction of UI director of track and field, Joey Woody, the Iowa Athletics Department brought in Beynon Sports Surfaces this past fall, beginning a project that would vault the Hawkeyes to one of the best in the country.
“Our athletes have been really patient and they are excited to get on the track,” Woody said. “At the beginning of the year I said that no matter when we get on the track. It’s all going to be worth it.”
On Friday, the track will be revealed when the Hawkeyes host their annual intrasquad meet.
“I am excited to get on the track,” senior Alexis Hernandez said. “We have a lot of talent this year and now we have the facility to match it. We’ve been running outside and inside on turf, so I think we are all ready to get on a track.”
Live video of the project has been streaming on hawkeyesports.com since construction started in October, giving Hawkeye athletes and fans a sneak peek into the future of Iowa track and field.
Some of the athletes, like sophomore Briana Guillory, like surprises and Friday will be their first look inside the building since the track was installed.
“I am excited to see how the facility looked from my freshman year when I was on my visit to now,” Guillory said. “My mom has been watching the live camera and tells me about it.”
And for others, the new track feels like an early Christmas present.
“I watch (the live stream) all the time,” sophomore DeJuan Frye said. “Before I go to bed, after I brush my teeth. I just watch and wait.”
At it’s highest point, the track is raised five feet off the ground and 18 inches on the infield. The track also includes banked turns, giving the track features many of the athletes have never experienced before.
“The only one of these I have run on was at Arkansas,” sophomore Mar’yea Harris said. “But that track was too high and I felt like I didn’t perform that well.”
“I have been on banked tracks before, but those were not that great,” Hernandez said. “From what I heard, this is the fastest track in the world.”
The idea of a new track has been in the works since Woody took over the program in 2014. It was mentioned to recruits on their visits, and some of those recruits, who are now Hawkeyes, are happy to finally see the track they were promised on the verge of completion.
“I knew about the track before I was here when I was a recruit living back home in California,” said Harris. “Coach (Jason) Wakenight told me that they were getting a new track from the World Championships. It definitely played into my decision.”
Having one of the best tracks in the world allows the Hawkeyes to welcome more teams to Iowa City. The program will host five home meets in 2017, welcoming teams from all over the country like Florida State, Tulsa, and Notre Dame.
The Hawkeyes debut their new track at the Black and Gold Intrasquad on Friday, Dec. 9, inside the UI Recreation Building. The meet begins at 6 p.m. (CT).