Sports Briefs


Podolak coming back

Three months after announcing his retirement from the radio booth, former Hawkeye running back Ed Podolak will return as a game analyst for Iowa football with Learfield Sports.

On Jan. 14, Podolak issued a statement that he was retiring, with the decision being one he had contemplated since moving his real-estate business to California, where he currently resides. The announcement had come shortly after three photos surfaced on the Internet, including one where he was apparently looking down a woman’s shirt while in Tampa for the Outback Bowl.

Two weeks later, Podolak announced he would enter rehab. While the reasons for entering treatment were never actually specified, some believed they were alcohol-related.

Recently, Podolak met with Iowa Athletics Director Gary Barta, and he expressed interest in reuniting in the radio booth with current play-by-play man Gary Dolphin.

“It’s great to know Ed will be back in the booth for another Hawkeye football season,” Barta said in a statement.

Iowa will open the 2009 season on Sept. 5 against Northern Iowa at Kinnick Stadium.

— by Brendan Stiles

Softball crushes W. Illinois

The Iowa softball team (31-9, 3-3) dismantled Western Illinois (14-15), 9-1, in six innings Wednesday behind a strong outing by senior pitcher Brittany Weil and an offensive explosion in the middle innings.

Weil (15-7) struck out six batters and allowed no earned runs on just two hits and no walks in her 17th complete game of the season. The Garden Grove, Calif., native lowered her ERA to 1.05 on the season, fourth best in the Big Ten.

Iowa collected 13 hits in the game, led by sophomore Chelsey Carmody’s three-hit performance. Liz Watkins and Colleen McGlaughlin added two hits each.

The Hawkeyes started the scoring in the third inning by plating four runs.

McGlaughlin added to her league leading RBI total in the top of the fifth with an off the wall double that was inches from clearing the fence. She added another RBI in the sixth to bring her season total to 36 and end the game on an eight-run mercy rule.

Iowa will resume Big Ten play Saturday and April 12 at Purdue.

— by Jon Linder

Varner honored

Iowa middle-distance runner and hurdler Ray Varner has been named the Big Ten’s male Co-Track Athlete of the Week. The Hawkeye junior shared the honor with Purdue’s Josh Hembrough.

Varner earned the award for his two regional qualifying performances at the Tiger Track Classic at Auburn last weekend. The Wadsworth, Ill., native posted a third-place finish in the 400-meter hurdles with a time of 51.82.

Varner also ran the anchor leg for Iowa’s 1,600-meter relay team of sophomores Steven Willey and Chris Barton and freshman Patraick Richards, which turned in a fifth-place finish with a time of 3:09.70.

This is Varner’s first weekly honor of his career, and Iowa’s first track athlete honored since Andy Napier earned the award exactly one year ago.

— by Zach Smith

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