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Men tracksters dominate, crowning 10 individual champions

BY ZACH SMITH | FEBRUARY 23, 2009 7:30 AM

Heading into the Iowa Invitational on Feb. 20, men’s track and field head coach Larry Wieczorek had billed the meet as a last chance for a bevy of Hawkeyes to prove themselves as contenders rather than pretenders.

Despite some subpar competition, Iowa did not lower its level of performance, crowning 10 individual champions on Senior Night.

Iowa was the victor in four field events, headlined by junior Alex Zona’s victory in the pole vault. He cleared the bar at 16-03⁄4, a new collegiate best for the Dyer, Ind., native.

Mark Schaapveld added a victory in the weight throw with a season-best toss of 53-13⁄4, and Ryan Kelly added a season best of his own, winning the high jump by clearing the bar at 6-91⁄2.

John Hickey continued his streak of stellar showings winning the shot put with a throw of 58-134. He said after the meet that he was not fully satisfied with his performance, yet the defending Big Ten indoor shot-put champion is confident he will rise to the occasion this weekend at the Big Ten championships in State College, Pa.

“I still wanted to throw a lot farther than I did,” the indoor All-American said. “For me, right now, if I’m not throwing over 60, it’s not really worth marking. Having a bad performance this week will help fire me up for next week.”

The Hawkeyes were the top five finishers in the shot put, with freshman Ryan Lamparek coming in second with a throw of 56-012. Schaapveld (third), Matt Banse (fourth), and Nick Brayton (fifth) were the other top finishers.

The team also posted several admirable times on the track.

Iowa went one-two-three in the 3,000-meters — sophomores Mark Battista (second) and Bruce MacTaggart (third) followed Sam Bailin (first) to the finish line.

Multisport sprinter Paul Chaney Jr., claimed victory in the 60 meters with a time of 6.80, barely edging Lancford Davis, who finished in 6.81. Chaney, Jr.’s time ranks third all-time in Iowa history.
Senior All-American Eric MacTaggart and Tommy Tate finished first and second in the mile. MacTaggart finished in 4:14.67, a new collegiate best.

Sophomore James Paul trailed freshman Brian Marchese for most of 800 meters before surging past him for the win, finishing in 1:57.87. Marchese finished in 1:59.40, good for third.

Wieczorek noted that the performance of D’Juan Richardson, who competed in and won the 60-meter hurdles, was particularly pleasing considering the freshman has been nursing a sore leg for the past two weeks.

“I think the more work [Richardson] can get in the hurdles will benefit him,” Wieczorek said. “He’s not a tall guy. I think he’s still making the adjustment from the 39-inch hurdles [used in high-school competition], where he was the state champion, to competing in the taller barriers in college.

“You give him a chance to focus on the hurdles and not doing some of the other events he’s done in the past, so that was good as well.”


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