IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa track & field assistant coach and recruiting coordinator Jason Wakenight was named Team USA Sprints/ Hurdles/Relays coach for the World University Games in China for Summer 2021.
“I’m thrilled to have such a unique opportunity to represent the country at one of the most elite competitions our sport has to offer,” said Wakenight. “I feel very blessed to be chosen and want to thank Coach Andrew Dubs and USA FISU for this tremendous honor. I am looking forward to working with some world-class athletes and having the opportunity to bring home some medals”
Wakenight had a golden 2019-2020 season, helping sophomore Wayne Lawrence Jr. (200M, 400M) and the men’s 4×400-meter relay to Big Ten titles. Wayne Lawrence was also named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, Iowa’s first. The 2019 season saw nine Hawkeyes earn All-America honors — three first team and six second team — under Wakenight’s coaching, including the men’s 1,600-meter relay team that finished fourth at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships and broke the Iowa school record (3:00.14).
“At Iowa we have become one of the country’s most elite sprint and hurdle programs and I am very proud to have played a meaningful role in that growth,” said Wakenight. “I have been so fortunate to work for two of the best coaches in the country, Randy Hasenbank at Loyola and Joey Woody here at Iowa. Those guys both put their trust in me and gave me unbelievable opportunities to develop as a young coach.”
The World University Games are organized by the International University Sports Federation and held every other year. The event, which features 18 sports, is open to men and women between the ages of 17 and 24 who are currently or have been in the past year a student at a college or university.
“Our biggest task as a staff will be putting together a team that can compete at a high level and bring home medals,” said Wakenight. “Over the next few months, I will be evaluating talent across the country and putting together a group of athletes that can gel and compete hard with a common goal in mind. Coach Dubs and I have talked extensively about trying to sweep the relays and improve on the medal count from previous years.”
Kate Wakenight, Iowa’s director of track and field operations, will also be joining Team USA as a part of the operations team for the 2021 World Games.
“This is such an amazing opportunity for Jason and I. It’s an honor to be able to represent our country and be able to use the skills I’ve honed at Iowa on a bigger stage,” Kate Wakenight said. “I’m looking forward to working with elite athletes from across the country and empowering them through my logistical expertise to go out and represent the U.S. on an international stage.”
The event is set to begin with the opening ceremony on Aug. 18 and end Aug. 29, 2021 in Chengdu, China.