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Women’s throwing program seeks rebirth

BY MICHELE DANNO | APRIL 07, 2010 7:30 AM

Rachel Jessen/The Daily Iowan
Iowa throwers Ashlyn Gulvas (center), Rachel Curry (left), and Jasmine Simpson stand in the weight room in the Recreation Building on Tuesday.
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The Iowa women’s throwing program has six times as many competitors as it did a year ago.

Since 2009, the team responded to the graduation of its sole thrower by adopting five freshmen and one sophomore transfer this year — an effort by coaches to rebuild the program. Historically, throwing events haven’t been a large contributor to the Hawkeyes’ success.

With the consolidation of the coaching staff for the men’s and women’s track and field teams last year, men’s throwing coach Scott Cappos is now responsible for developing the women’s program.

“We had a strategy as a staff that we wanted to combine our resources,” he said. “My strength as an athlete was a thrower, so I look forward to the new challenge of developing the women’s team to the highest level in the Big Ten.”

Cappos began coaching the men’s team in 1997, when the throwing program began. Over the past 13 years, he has managed to transform the male Hawkeye throwers into one of the premier programs in the conference.

With a combination of successful recruiting and dedication, he attracts some of the best male competitors in the country, ensuring the team’s continued success. He said he plans to use a similar strategy with the women’s side and expects to see major results within two or three seasons.

Cappos laid his foundation for success with six fresh faces this year — all of whom walked on or receive a small scholarship, with the exception of Ashlyn Gulvas, a redshirt on a more substantial scholarship.

Head coach Layne Anderson said he supports the expansion of the women’s throwing program and is working with the rest of the staff to secure more scholarship money to attract better recruits in the future.

For next season, the Hawkeyes have signed two of the state’s top high-school competitors from West High — Micaela Haight and Cara Jansen.

Cappos said he was fortunate to have those throwers for next season, and he hopes signing these top recruits has a “snowball” effect.

Anderson agreed, and he said having Cappos as a coach makes Iowa more tempting to high-school prospects.

“We’re hoping to have competitive throwers in each of the events,” Anderson said. “We’ve increased our numbers, scholarships, and we’re working on developing [women] in areas they didn’t learn at the high-school level.”

So far this season, the program boasts a number of near record-breaking performances.

Majesty Tutson said she feels she has significantly improved over the coarse of indoor and the beginning of outdoor season. She said she is within a few feet of breaking the Iowa women’s discus record.

Although the youngsters have no veterans to learn from, Tutson attributed part of her and her teammates’ success to the help provided by their male counterparts.

She said they reinforce proper technique and serve as the leaders of the team.

“I think we’re going to have great success in the next few years,” the Iowa City native said. “We’re already getting closer to getting up there with the top levels of competition.”


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