March 12, 2011
COLLEGE STATION, Texas - The University of Iowa men's and women's track and field teams finalized competition at the 2011 Indoor NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, Saturday. The men's team claimed a top 10 finish in the team race, scoring 20 points and claiming stake in a two-way tie with Stanford for eighth place. The top 10 finish marks the highest finish in program history for the men's indoor team.
"We are pretty excited," said head coach Larry Wieczorek. "We had a tremendous team effort over the last two days. Our worst finish was ninth when Jordan [Mullen] missed qualifying for the finals by one-one hundredth of a second, that's pretty good. To be in the top ten in the country is just great. We're so excited right now. We have a great group of guys that just fought really hard."
Hawkeye junior, Erik Sowinski, raced to an impressive fourth place finish in the men's 800 meter run. Sowinski, a Waukesha, Wis., native, ran the event in 1:49.47 to earn the top-five finish and five points for Iowa in the team race.
Sowinski was also a member of the Iowa men's 1,600-meter relay team that placed fourth. The men in Black and Gold looked to junior Patrick Richards to start the race with the first quarter mile. Richards handed off to sophomore Ethan Holmes for the second leg, and Sowinski took the baton for the third leg. Senior Steven Willey anchored the race, running the fastest split of the group (46.01), and crossing the finish line in 3:07.16.
Sophomore Jeff Thode placed sixth in the men's mile run. Thode, who earlier this month became the first Iowa student-athlete to ever run a sub-four-minute mile, ran 4:01.73 Saturday evening at Gilliam Indoor Track Stadium. The Schaumburg, Ill., native, ran the mile in 3:58.72 to qualify for the national competition.
Senior Bethany Praska, 2011 600 meter Big Ten Champion, ran the 800 in 2:07.24. The Longmont, Col. native placed seventh in the race. Praska broke the school record in the event for the third time this season in the preliminary race Friday night, clocking a 2:05.01.
Rounding out the Hawkeye competitors was junior Troy Doris. The Bollingbrook, Ill., native and school record holder in the triple jump (54'), leapt to a sixth place finish in the triple jump competition Saturday. Doris notched a jump of 53-5 ½ (16.29m).
In addition to working towards a top-ten finish in the national competition, the eight Hawkeyes that competed in the finals earned first team all-America honors. Competitors must finish in the top-eight in the nationa to earn the illustrious honor.
Hawkeye First Team All-Americans
200m Dash Justin Austin
Triple Jump Troy Doris
4x400m Relay Ethan Holmes
800m Run Bethany Praska
4x400m Relay Patrick Richards
800m Run Erik Sowinski
4x400m Relay Erik Sowinski
Mile Run Jeff Thode