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Sports Briefs

BY DI SPORTS STAFF | APRIL 17, 2009 7:31 AM

Men’s, women’s hoops teams anounce signings

Both the Iowa men’s and women’s basketball teams were able to sign recruits to national letters of intent this week.

On Wednesday, Todd Lickliter added point guard Cully Payne to his 2009 class, joining Brennan Cougill and Eric May. Payne, a Schaumburg, Ill., native, played in only 16 games as a high-school senior last year, but he averaged 21.6 points and 5.4 assists per game.

“He is a very effective point guard and shoots the ball well,” Lickliter said in a statement. “He’s a very competitive player who plays the game at a great pace. He’s an excellent addition to our program.”

Lisa Bluder on Thursday lured in Ames native Trisha Nesbitt, who became the fifth member of Bluder’s 2009 class. As a senior at Ames High School, the 5-6 guard led her team in both scoring and assists as a senior, with 15.6 points and 5.4 assists per contest.

“Trisha is a scoring point guard who enjoys playing defense,” Bluder said in a statement. “Trisha is a natural leader who is a fiery competitor and brings enthusiasm to the court.”

— by Brendan Stiles

Men’s gymnastics finishes 6th

The Iowa men’s gymnastics team earned a score of 337.35 to finish in sixth place in the second of two NCAA qualifiers Thursday in Minneapolis. Oklahoma (360.95) took first place, finishing ahead of Illinois (359.30), Ohio State (354.30), Minnesota (351.05), Illinois-Chicago (337.65), and Iowa.

Senior Geoff Reins led the way for the Hawkeyes as expected, scoring 16.10 on vault to tie for second in addition to finishing in a tie for third on floor exercise with a 15.45. Reins will try to compete for a national championship when he participates in the individual event finals on Saturday.

Other top performances for Iowa included junior captain Jonathan Buese’s 82.65 in the all-around competition, which earned him seventh place. Sophomore Ben Ketelsen scored 15.55 on vault and 14.75 on the floor. Freshman Jacob Swafford posted a score of 15.50 on vault.

Stanford took first place in the early qualifying session with a team score of 361.10. The team finals, featuring the top three teams from each qualifying session, will be held today.

— by Jordan Garretson

Baseball heads to Northwestern

The Iowa baseball team will travel to Evanston, Ill., to take on Northwestern at 3 p.m. in the first of a three-game set.

The Hawkeyes (11-21, 2-7) are’on an eight-game losing streak, tying the longest streak in head coach Jack Dahm’s tenure at Iowa, but they will have a great opportunity to snap their streak against the Wildcats (9-23, 1-7). Northwestern, last in the Big Ten, is the only team ranked lower in the standings than Iowa, and it has lost six-straight Big Ten games, with its last conference victory coming against Purdue on March 28. The last time Iowa claimed a victory was also against Purdue, on April 3.

“We just need to get better; we’re not playing free and easy right now,” Dahm said following an April 12 loss to Indiana. “Right now, we’re searching, we’re trying to find a spark that’s going to help us get a win.”

Scheduled to take the mound for Iowa today is freshman Nick Brown, who is 2-2 on the year with a 5.12 ERA in eight appearances.

— by Jeff Pawola

Women’s tennis goes to Purdue

The Iowa women’s tennis team will compete in its final dual meet of the Big Ten season Saturday against Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind., at noon.

The Hawkeyes (7-13, 2-7) are unranked and tied for ninth place in the conference standings; the Boilermakers (7-11, 3-5) are also unranked and in sixth place.

Iowa is also in the midst of a seven-meet losing streak, with its last win a 4-3 victory over Michigan State on March 21. The Hawkeyes lead the all-time series against Purdue with a 23-18 edge, including a 5-2 win last season.

Iowa has been locked up in close meets all spring, going 3-3 in meets with a final score of 4-3. Head coach Daryl Greenan knows his team has had a few bad bounces here and there and is hopeful about the matchup with Purdue.

“It’s going to be a tough match for us,” he said. “We’d love to get a win. We’ve had so many close calls. We’re in a bit of a slump, but at the same time, the girls are working hard. It would be great to get a win heading into the Big Ten Tournament.”

The Hawkeyes will travel to Madison, Wis., for the Big Ten championships on April 23.

— by Robbie Lehman

Iowa men’s golf off to Purdue

The Iowa men’s golf team will compete in its final meet before the Big Ten championships when it participates at the Boilermaker Invitational in West Lafayette, Ind., this weekend.

Senior Cole Peevler, sophomores Vince India and Brad Hopfinger, and freshmen Brad George and Chris Brant will make the trip for the Hawkeyes. India posted a 54-hole score of 224 (11 over) to lead Iowa to a seventh-place tie at the Kepler Invitational on April 12.

Some of the Hawkeye golfers are familiar with the Kampen Course at Purdue’s Birck Boilermaker Golf Complex, the site of the competition.

“I think at least three or four of our guys have already seen Purdue’s golf course,” head coach Mark Hankins said. “That experience will be valuable.”

The event boasts an 18-team field, six of which — Illinois, Indiana, Michigan State, Penn State, Purdue, and Wisconsin — are Big Ten squads, in addition to Iowa.

“It’s more about us just continuing to improve.” Hankins said. “I think we had a good week of practice, and that helps confidence. We’re looking for a top-five finish in a pretty large field.”

Teams will play 36 holes Saturday before concluding the tournament with a final round of 18 holes on April 19.

— by Jordan Garretson

Women’s golf heads to Buckeye Invitational

The Iowa women’s golf team will compete in its final spring season tournament this weekend before heading into the Big Ten Championships.

The Hawkeyes will tee off at the Lady Buckeye Invitational at 8:30 a.m. Saturday at the Ohio State University Golf Club on Scarlet Course. Rounds One and Two (36 holes) will be played Saturday and the third round (18 holes) on April 19.

Joining Iowa in the 15-team tournament field are eight Big Ten opponents.

The lineup for the Hawkeyes will be seniors Tyrette Metzendorf and Becky Quinby, sophomores Laura Cilek and Brianna Coopman, and freshman Chelsea Harris.

Iowa is coming off an eighth-place finish at the Indiana University Invitational, in which the Hawkeyes battled wind, rain, snow, sleet, and temperatures in the 30s during the final round.

“I have felt all year that we have been one round away from a good tournament finish,” head coach Kelly Crawford said. “I have seen some good things from the team this season, and that is exciting as we head into the final two tournaments.”

— by Peter Gustin

Men’s track to split up

The Iowa men’s track and field team will continue its outdoor season this weekend at a pair of competitions.

Some athletes will make the short trip up I-380 to Cedar Falls to compete in Northern Iowa’s Messersmith Invitational. Events are set to get underway at UNI’s Messersmith Outdoor Track and Field Complex at 11 a.m. on Saturday.

The other competitors will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., to compete in the University of Arkansas’ McDonnell Invitational.

Competition will get under way at noon today and 10 a.m. Saturday at McDonnell Field.

The Razorbacks — arguably the premier track and field program in the nation — are in their first year under former UNI track and field coach Chris Bucknam.

— by Zach Smith

Women tracksters take off for Cedar Falls

This weekend, the Iowa women’s track and field team will stay close to home, traveling to Cedar Falls for the Mark Messermith Invitational. Events will commence at 12 p.m. on Saturday and will be held at the Messermith Outdoor Track and Field Complex.

Last weekend was successful for Iowa. Senior Renee White won the triple jump, posting a regional qualifying mark of 41-3 in her first meet outdoors at the Sun Angel Classic in Tempe, Ariz.

Sophomore Karessa Farley continued to perform well, also qualifying regionally in the 100-meter hurdles with a time of 13.78, fifth all-time in Iowa history.

Freshmen sensations Betsy Flood and McKenzie Melander, competing in the Mesa Classic in Mesa, Ariz., both qualified regionally as well in the 1,500 meters, finishing with times of 4:27.33 and 4:27.34, respectively.

— by Jake Krzeczowski


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