By JACK ROSSI
AMES, Iowa — The finale of the Iowa State Classic saw the Hawkeye track and field team set 11 personal bests on Saturday inside the Lied Recreation Center.
Freshmen Tyler Kirkwood and Julie Hollensbe started the day with a few personal bests. Kirkwood set two on the day and he credits those times to a change in his start.
“I take a different number of steps to the first hurdle,” Kirkwood said. “It was for me to be more comfortable and it really showed today. Every step is just me getting closer to my main goal and it is good to find some consistency in my running.”
“We went back to his eight step approach which is what he did in high school,” UI directory of track and field Joey Woody said. “We tried to have him use a seven step approach but it was a stretch for him.”
Hollensbe has been trying to crack a five-minute mile for a couple weeks and finally got a time she is happy with, recording a time of 4:59.71 to place eighth overall.
“I ran 5:01 last week and it was my goal last weekend to get under five-minutes so I was kind of disappointed that I didn’t,” Hollensbe said. “I was hoping to go faster than that and not just break it, but after talking to coach I executed it well in that I ran faster towards the end of the race.”
The Hawkeye 400m and 800m groups combined to set eight personal bests as a number of underclassmen recorded collegiate bests.
“I thought we had a decent day,” assistant coach Jason Wakenight said. “Not a spectacular day by any stretch, but I was excited about Anthony Chaidez, who keeps improving every week, and Tia Saunders who ran five seconds faster than she did last week. That was important.”
The middle distance group this season has proven to be a strength for the team as they have already set two school records in 2017, but while the team saw improvements in some areas, Wakenight still thinks there is more room to improve in others.
“We can’t be measured by our best people in each event,” Wakenight said. “My gauge is based off how the third, fourth and fifth person is doing. I would really like to see progress out of the middle of the group. We have too much talent.”
The Hawkeyes split up for the second straight week. One group will compete in Iowa’s final home meet of the season in the Iowa Open, while another group will head to the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind.
Karson Sommer – Personal Best (4:13.71)
Sheridan Champe – Personal Best (56.91)
Chris Thompson – Personal Best (49.17)
Nick Jensen – Personal Best (49.11)
Noah Larrison – Personal Best (48.92)
Amber Decker – Personal Best (2:13.29)
Tia Saunders – Personal Best (2:13.11)
Anthony Chaidez – Personal Best (1:50.75)
Nolan Tuebel – Personal Best (1:54.52)