April 19, 2013
Editor's Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa's Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide.
IOWA CITY, Iowa -- Twenty-four Hawkeyes to Watch will take on a literal sense when the University of Iowa track and field program hosts the 14th annual Musco Twilight tomorrow at Cretzmeyer Track.
The Hawkeyes will honor 24 graduating seniors at 5:45 p.m. (CT), 30 minutes before the start of a meet that will see 12 men and 12 women entertain the home crowd for the final time.
"The Musco meet is special to us because it's our big home meet and it's a chance to be under the lights," said UI director of track and field Larry Wieczorek. "My mission is to make the athletes stars for the night, and to show off track and field as a great spectator sport. Fans come and have fun watching our athletes perform."
Iowa's class of 2013 will graduate with 13 school records. Sprinter Justin Austin owns six of those records, including the 100-meter mark that he set on his home track at the 2011 Big Ten Championships.
"Hopefully we can break some more records," said Austin. "I'd like to break another 4x1 record on the track. The 100, we'll see, that's a touch record to get but we'll see if I can do it again."
Raven Moore is expecting a breakthrough at her final home meet. The Atlanta native is knocking on the door of the school's top 10 performers list, and she's the top seed in the 200 meters.
"I know I'm going to set some standards," said Moore. "I'm hoping to do big things since it's my last year at Musco. I know all the nerves and everything will come out, and I know I'm going to hit some times that are pretty amazing."
Moore said Iowa's lone outdoor home meet of the season always holds a special significance.
"It's a different feeling," she said. "We practice there every day, so to be able to have one meet here is awesome. It's night time, it's under the lights, it's a bunch of good stuff. "
She's also excited to walk the track with a special guest prior to the meet.
"Sadly my mom will not be here," said Moore. "She's in Georgia, but I'll have my son Amar'e with me. We're going to walk together and that's all I need."
Josh Larney is in only his second season on the Iowa campus, but his presence is cemented in the history books, and he wants to leave a memorable impression in his final appearance in Iowa City.
"I want to take advantage of the opportunity to compete at home for the last time as a Hawkeye," said Larney, who recently anchored the school's record-setting 400-meter relay. "We're going to try to make another statement heading into the Drake Relays and Big Ten Championships."
Larney was a junior college All-American before transferring to Iowa in 2011. He'll earn his degree in May, but he says he'll graduate with much more.
"I found exactly what I was looking for at Iowa," said the Cleveland, Ohio, native. "Not just athletically, but academically and also just in terms of becoming a better person."
Musco features men's and women's teams from Drake, Minnesota, Missouri, Wisconsin and Iowa. The Badgers and Hawkeyes have won the last two men's conference titles. Wisconsin won the championship on its home track in 2012, one year after Iowa won the title in Iowa City.
Austin, who has won a pair of individual Big Ten crowns, says his most memorable Hawkeye moment was defending Cretzmeyer Track in 2011.
"The end of that meet two years ago, hoisting the trophy up, I will always remember that about this track," he said. "I will always remember that."
Wieczorek was named Big Ten Coach of the Year following the outdoor championships in 2011, and he wants his departing seniors and underclassmen to relish the moment on Saturday.
"This is the end of that championship era, so to speak," said Wieczorek. "These seniors were key contributors to the Big Ten championship, and I tell our entire team, it's the chance of a lifetime here to compete with some of the best athletes ever at the University of Iowa. You want to make the most of it."