IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa Track & Field swept the Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors, the conference announced on Wednesday. Paige Magee, Sean Smith, Kalen Walker and Daniela Wamokpego each earned their respective award for the first time of their careers.
“This is a great accomplishment for our athletes to sweep the Big Ten Athlete of the Week honors in all four disciplines,” Iowa Director of Track & Field Joey Woody said. “This is the first time we have swept the conference honors, so that is exciting to show where our program is at heading into January. Paige and Kalen kicked off their season, sending a message that they both expect to be in the NCAA finals this season. To start the year with both of them breaking school records is a great sign of what is to come this indoor season,” Woody added.
“Paige has qualified to the NCAA Championships in multiple events, but she has her sights set on becoming a first-team All-American this year. Kalen has dealt with injuries over the last two years, but he’s healthy and progressing at a very high level now. This is just the beginning of what we expect to be an incredible year for both of them.”
Magee, a senior from Columbia, Missouri, won the women’s track athlete of the week honor by breaking the program’s 60-meter hurdles record at the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational on Dec. 9, cruising to an 8.07 finish. The Hawkeye hurdler is ranked atop the NCAA in the event. Magee also set a personal best in the 60-meter preliminaries with a time of 7.45.
Walker, a native of Eddyville, Iowa, broke his own 60-meter school record twice in the season opener to earn the men’s track athlete of the week honor. In the preliminaries, Walker sped to a 6.60 finish, bettering his previous school record from 2022. Just over an hour later, the senior sprinter set the program’s new record, finishing in 6.59. Walker leads the NCAA in the 60-meter dash this season.
Smith, a sophomore thrower from Webster, New York, earned the men’s field honor in his season debut by setting a new personal best and facility record in the weight throw. He fired a 21.66-meter (71’ 0.75”) toss to move up to second place in program history. Smith is currently ranked second in the NCAA Division I – just one tenth off of the leader.
“Sean worked tirelessly this offseason to prepare himself and realize his goals for the year,” Iowa assistant and throws coach Ray Robinson said. “This is a fantastic opener, with much more on the horizon.”
Wamokpego, a freshman from Meaux, France, claimed the women’s field award with her opener in the triple jump at the Jimmy Grant Alumni Invitational. The jumps specialist won the event title with a 13.12-meter (43’ 0.5”) mark and moved into second place on Iowa’s all-time list. The freshman ranks atop the women’s collegiate rankings in the triple jump.
“Daniela has made a lot of adjustments since she got here,” Iowa assistant and jumps coach Hadrien Choukroun said. “We had a great week of training leading up to Saturday and it’s good to see her hard work pay off. This is the farthest opener she has had in her career. Earning this honor is a nice early-season reward and is very well deserved.”
This is the first weekly indoor conference award for the Hawkeyes since Peyton Haack was named the Big Ten’s Field Athlete of the Week in February of 2023. Lia Love and Kat Moody were the most recent women to earn the honor, claiming the Big Ten’s best during March of the outdoor season in 2023. Iowa’s last Big Ten Athlete of the Week honor came last May, when Julien Gillum earned the distinction.
The Hawkeyes return to action on Jan. 13 at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility, hosting the Hawkeye Invitational.