Feb. 27, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The 15th ranked University of Iowa men's track and field team captured three titles to finish the 2011 Indoor Big Ten Championships in fourth place, its highest finish since 1997. The Hawkeyes racked up 88 team points and crowned champions in the 200 meters, triple jump and 1,600-meter relay. The 2011 Championships were the most successful since the 1997 team placed fourth and the 1963 team crowned four individual champions and a relay team champion.
Sophomore Justin Austin was the first Hawkeye to reach the top of the podium Sunday afternoon. Austin placed first in the 200 meters with an NCAA automatically qualifying time of 21.23. The Milwaukee, Wisconsin native previously qualified for the national championships with a school record setting time of 20.83. In addition to his stellar finish in the 200, Austin placed fourth in the 60 meter dash with a time of 6.73. Austin set the school record in the event Saturday when he ran 6.69 in the preliminary race.
Troy Doris, a junior from Bolingbrook, Ill., leapt to a championship title in the triple jump. Doris' jump reached 52-6 (16.00m). The Iowa newcomer automatically qualified for the national championships in the event when he set the school record at 54-0 (16.46m) at the Razorback Invitational.
The 1,600-meter relay team also earned conference gold. The final race of the day was possibly one of the most riveting for Hawkeye fans, as it determined the difference between fourth and fifth place for Iowa and Ohio State.
Sophomore Patrick Richards was the first Hawkeye to run the quarter mile distance and set the pace before he handed off to freshman Ethan Holmes. Junior Erik Sowinski took the baton for the third leg and senior Steven Willey gutted it out as the anchor and stretched across the line at 3:12.13, just .4 seconds faster than the second place Ohio State team.
Wieczorek boasted a number of Hawkeyes in the top-three, all making an appearance on the champions stand. Sowinski placed second in the 800 meter run, finishing in 1:50.34. Sophomore Jordan Mullen finished the 60 meter hurdles in 7.83 to earn the silver, while Willey got the bronze in the 400 meters after running the event in 47.39 seconds.
Sophomore Jeff Thode placed third in the one mile run with a school record breaking performance. Thode's time of 4:02.00 beats the previous record of 4:03.07 that he set at the NCAA Qualifier last season.
"It's always great to get to the victory stand," Wieczorek said. "It was a terrific meet for us and we exceeded our expected points on paper going in. We were tied with Ohio State going to the last event, and we won to get ahead of them in the team standings. Overall, through the two days, we fought about as hard as we possibly could have as a team. We are just really proud of the entire team for how they competed this weekend. "