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‘Hawk of the Week’ special to track and field

BY MATT SCHOMMER | FEBRUARY 25, 2010 7:30 AM

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The desire to be No. 1 can be intense.

But when it comes to taking such an honor honor, at least for the men’s track and field team, doing so may be quite simple:It takes a stellar performance.

“Hawk of the Week” has become a sought-after award for the athletes, with Erik Sowinski’s recent performances having earned him the honor on more than one occasion. And he said he wouldn’t mind continuing that trend.

“I want everyone to perform well, but at the same time, I want to perform well myself,” Sowinski said.

The trackster didn’t win the award this week, though, after sitting out the Iowa Invitational, giving some other teammates the chance to be recognized.

“Erik’s been ‘Hawk of the Week’ pretty much every week,” assistant coach Joey Woody said. “That’s motivation in itself, to try to do what he’s done for us.”

That motivation seems to have made its way into a few other athletes in last week’s home meet. Karessa Farley, Kyle Reid, and D’Juan Richardson won the award after posting noteworthy times or heights in their respective events.Reid improved his personal best in the pole vault by a foot.

“It shows people are paying attention,” the first-time winner said. “You want to be able to get that. At the same time, you’re doing something good and need to keep it up.”

It takes a great accomplishment for an athlete to garner the award. Head coach Larry Wieczorek and the assistant coaches choose the winner, or winners.

At times, big improvements can trump the best individual performance.

When Sowinski first broke the 800-meter record, he didn’t receive the honor. Instead, it went to Nick Kuczwara for his major improvement in his own 800-meter time.

If there is any sort of disagreement, or if several athletes were impressive in their performances, numerous track and field athletes will have their picture posted under the “Hawk of the Week” hanging on the Recreation Building’s bulletin board.

“It’s supposed to be just the main coaches, but everyone communicates about it,” Woody said.

Among other things at the team’s Wednesday meetings, the coaches let the squad know who has done enough to earn a shout-out as the top athlete on the team for the week.

Several athletes said the award is motivating whether they’ve won it before.

“It’s something you want to get,” Sowinski said. “Obviously, you’re putting out good performances, exemplifying what you’ve been doing all year. I’d definitely say it’s a thing you’re striving to get.”


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