Young Hawkeye track throwers shining

BY ZACH SMITH | APRIL 16, 2009 7:32 AM

Put them in red and green overalls, draw on a pair of matching mustaches, and you would have the Iowa track and field version of the Super Smash Brothers.

Redshirt freshmen throwers Nick Brayton and Ryan Lamparek have started dropping their metaphoric hammers on the Division-I scene. With the legacy of consistently solid Iowa throwers placed squarely on their broad shoulders, the young tandem has the highest expectations from head coach Larry Wieczorek.

“They’re going to be a real force for us,” Wieczorek said. “We want the top Iowa guys, and that’s who we expect to lead our program. You like to think a lot of people in the state want to be Hawkeyes and have that good work ethic.

“Coach [Scott] Cappos mentioned that one of the throws coaches from another school down at Auburn said, ‘Where’d you get [Brayton] from?’ ”

Having set regional qualifying marks in their respective events, the two young studs have shown they can compete with the best the nation has to offer. The two could even be compared with their standout teammates, John Hickey and A.J. Curtis, who also had breakout freshman seasons.

Lamparek, the dual threat of the duo, made a splash during the indoor season; he placed eighth in the shot put at the Big Ten indoor championships and scored points for the Hawkeyes.

In the outdoor season, the youthful big man has opened the nation’s eyes, proving he can chuck the discus pretty far, too, hitting a provincial qualifying mark with a 175-4 throw on April 10 at the Mesa Classic.

“I know Coach Cappos is really excited about [Ryan] Lamparek in all throwing events,” Wieczorek said. “There is a big upside for him.”

During his redshirt season, Lamparek sometimes was itchy for competition as he watched from the sideline. For the Cedar Rapids native, the year of work and development has come to fruition this season.

“I think that redshirt year helped me a lot,” Lamparek said. “[Looking back] I don’t think I was ready to go straight into [college throwing]. It was a lot of hard work and practice and listening to teammates and coaches.”

Brayton was also frustrated watching from the sidelines. The redshirt year was necessary, however, said the Iowa City West alum.

At the Tiger Classic in Auburn, Ala., on April 3, Brayton opened eyes with a toss of 173.3 feet. Now that the goal of making it to regionals is an afterthought, he said he is focused on the next step.

“It was nice to get [that qualifying throw] out of the way,” he said. “It’s helped me practice and learn what I need to work on. So I can keep working from there, I guess.”

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