Several medal for Iowa at men’s track Big Tens

BY ZACH SMITH | MARCH 3, 2009 7:20 AM

Despite a ninth-place finish at the Big Ten indoor championships last weekend at Penn State’s Ashenfelter Multisport Facility, the Iowa men’s track and field team managed to put several athletes on the medal stand.

The Hawkeyes only finished with 43 team points overall but did get strong individual performances from Big Ten veterans, including John Hickey and Adam Hairston.

Hickey, the two-time defending Big Ten indoor champion, fell just short of a third-consecutive conference crown, finishing second to Minnesota’s Aaron Studt. For the senior, second place was certainly disappointing and even slightly alarming — Feb. 28 was the first time this season Hickey did not finish first in the meet he was competing in.

However, head coach Larry Wieczorek said, Hickey was a “highlight of the weekend,” and the senior is as determined as ever about the upcoming NCAA indoor championships.

“I know he was disappointed with second place, and yet he competed well,” Wieczorek said. “That’s going to happen at a Big Ten championship with a guy like Studt. He’s a tough guy and can throw far. John competed well. Studt just had a little more that day.”

Hickey wasn’t the only Hawkeye to score points in the shot put. A.J. Curtis finished fourth with a throw of 57-91⁄2, and freshman Ryan Lamparek’s throw of 56-83⁄4 was good for sixth.

Hairston, on the other hand, was the conference runner-up a year ago in the 800 meters and was hoping to win it all this time.

The junior made the best of a crowded track, bumping elbows and finishing third in a time of 1:51.34.

If there is one thing Hairston took away from his second-straight All-Big Ten performance, it is the belief in himself to compete at a high level.

“I think it was a good performance,” he said. “I really competed hard. I’m not upset with my effort.
“I think, even though I got third, I was the best runner in the race. You know, sometimes things happen — I got a little tripped up — but I rebounded from that and was still able to medal.”

Adding to strong performances were multisport athlete Paul Chaney Jr., freshmen Patrick Richards and Eric Sowinski, and sophomore Josh Bean.

Sowinski broke the school record during his preliminary heat of the 600 meters with a time of 1:18.05 and went on to finish eighth in the finals (1:19.10) behind teammate Steven Willey, who finished seventh (1:19.03).

Chaney earned All-Big Ten honors by placing fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 21.45, a collegiate-best for the junior and third fastest in school history. The time provisionally qualifies him for the NCAA indoor championships. He also scored points for the Hawkeyes finishing by sixth in the 60 meters (6.84).

Richards was the only freshman to garner All-Big Ten honors for Iowa, placing fifth in the 400 meters with a time of 47.94, and Bean placed sixth in the triple jump (48-7 1/2).

Ryan Kelly added fifth place in the high jump. The leap cleared 6-103⁄4, a collegiate-best for the senior.

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