By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa – At the midway point of the University of Iowa track and field’s outdoor season, the Hawkeyes are eager to host its only home meet of the season.
Iowa hosts the 18th annual Musco Twilight meet Saturday. It is Iowa’s first home competition since it held the Iowa Open at the UI Recreation Building during the indoor season.
“It’s great, we get to showcase our team at home,” said UI director of track and field Joey Woody. “We’re a better outdoor team right now and we’re happy to be able to showcase the 4×100, 400-meter hurdles, and all those outdoor events that we don’t get to compete indoors.”
The Hawkeyes enter the meet in a comfortable position in the Big Ten. On paper, Iowa is one of the best teams in the conference, holding the top spot in six events, including three relays.
“Our men’s team is ranked first and our women’s team is third based on paper points at this time in the season,” Woody said. “There are still a lot of teams that have not put up big marks yet that are capable, but we feel confident about where we are at.”
The team is leading the Big Ten without star hurdler senior Aaron Mallett, who has yet to put up a top time. Mallett opened his outdoor season at the Mt. SAC Relays where he stumbled over the final hurdle in the 110-meter hurdles, costing him a top finish.
Heading into the homestretch of the outdoor season, Woody isn’t worried the slightest.
“No I’m not worried,” Woody said with a smile.
It has been four weeks since the Hawkeyes were in Iowa City for a weekend. After traveling all over the country, the team is happy to back at home and sleep in their own beds.
“That’s a big deal,” Woody said. “That’s why I feel like we had a great indoor season because our athletes were able to stay in town and walk across campus to compete.”
A Musco featured race is the Larry Wieczorek 1,500-meter run, named after legendary UI head coach Larry Wieczorek, who coached 79 Big Ten champions and 53 All-Americans during his Hawkeye tenure. As an athlete, Wieczorek was a six-time Big Ten champion and four-time All-American.
The Larry Wieczorek 1,500 will be one of the last events available for Hawkeye athletes to make coaches take notice as they are getting their Big Ten lineup set.
“This is our last open meet,” Woody said. “We are close to putting together our Big Ten roster. We will have the Drake Relays, but there are not a lot of open events there, so we are getting close to having our lineups set for Big Tens.”
Musco Twilight XVIII will run all day Saturday. The field events start at 12 p.m. (CT) with opening ceremonies and senior recognition will take place at 4 p.m. The meet will be produced live to tape on Big Ten Network and will air on Monday at 6 p.m.