IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa track and field program hosts the 20th annual Musco Twilight Invitational on Saturday.
In 1999, former head coach Larry Wieczorek started it all as a way of spotlighting some of Iowa’s great athletes.
“I started reflecting back to that first night, Tim Dwight was back from playing in the Super Bowl. He was still eligible for track at the University of Iowa. He competed that night, so people were lined up four-deep at the fence and in the stands,” Wieczorek said. “Anthuan Maybank had just won a gold medal in the 4×400-meter relay and was back running as an all-star. It couldn’t have been better, it was like a dream come true.”
Wieczorek described the first Musco Twilight as the perfect night for the event. On Tuesday, as he reflected in the inaugural event, he wore the t-shirt that he said depicted the night perfectly.
“The first night is what [former Iowa athletic director] Bob Bowlsby called a ‘chamber of commerce night,'” Wieczorek said. “Actually, a full moon came up that night. We were very fortunate.”
Since then, the outdoor competition has been a constant on the Hawkeyes’ schedule for 21 years, a tradition kept alive with the help of the Musco Sports Lighting company. The only exception was in 2008, when Iowa City was recovering from the 2008 flood.
“We were fortunate with Musco getting involved from the very beginning with them bringing their lights,” Wieczorek said. “This is the darkest spot in Iowa City, if you ever drive by here. There’s one little light above the track and field shed, an emergency light. Otherwise, you can’t see anything here. They bring in the lights, and it’s kind of magical, it transforms it.”
The Hawkeyes will host seven schools Saturday, including Dubuque, Iowa Central, Loyola, Minnesota State, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, and Western Illinois, on Saturday. For more information, visit hawkeyesports.com.