Tracksters take over Arizona, Illinois


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The Iowa track and field team did its best impression of Mount Vesuvius with a eruption of personal bests and winning times this past weekend in Illinois and Arizona.

Iowa garnered seven victories between the two meets and added a throng of collegiate-best performances.

“This was one of the best weekends we’ve ever had,” Iowa men’s head coach Larry Wieczorek said.

Statistically, it probably was. Seven male athletes scored the highest marks of their careers, and eight Hawkeyes secured a top-five spot in the Iowa record book.

Sophomore Matt Banse won the hammer toss for the second-straight week with a personal best of 60.66 meters in the Western Illinois Calhoun Memorial. But the native of Strawberry Point, Iowa, said his best performances are ahead of him.

“I finally started figuring stuff out,” he said. “Down in Auburn, I wasn’t getting my right foot down in the right spot, and it was all I focused on in practice, and it came together during the meet.”

Banse’s progress could prove to be essential down the road as the Big Ten championships near.

“The Big Ten is wide open this year,” Banse said. “If I can perform the way I can, I think I can throw more than 63 meters, and that could lead to a Big Ten championship.”

Banse wasn’t the only athlete who won his event. Sam Bailin, Jordan Mullen, and Brandon Oest each conquered the 5,000 meters, 110-meter hurdles, and high jump, respectively.

Wieczorek wasn’t too surprised by the performances, though.

“It’s been preparation and steady progress,” he said. “But we did explode a little bit this weekend.”

The script wasn’t much different for the women this weekend.

Women’s head coach Layne Anderson said the long journey to the Sun Angel Invitational in Tempe, Ariz., was worth it — resulting in “many lifetime best performances.”

The meet, which ran for more than 12 hours on April 10, encompassed a successful day for the senior women. A few finally accomplished career goals after four seasons.

Senior Caleigh Bacchus reached her career goal of clearing 5-10 in the high jump, which put her in third place.

On the track, senior Rhonda-Kaye Trusty won both the 100- (11.74) and 200-meters (23.83), setting personal bests in both events.

“We had some good, consistent performances in Arizona,” Anderson said. “It’s a good sign that some of our top kids are healthy and doing well and can be counted on for the Big Ten championship.”

But not all the Hawkeyes made the trip to the Grand Canyon State. Fourteen women made the day trip to Western Illinois for a chance to see competition “more at their level.”

Anderson noted Lindsay Anderson’s 1,500-meter dash (4:38.87) as a top performance and said the group of first-year throwers made strides in their events as well. Freshman multi-eventer Missy Miller, who is working on mastering seven outdoor track events, showed improvement in the javelin — something she doesn’t have much past experience with.

“We still have a few athletes looking for improvements,” Anderson said. “But we have three great opportunities to get better in the next month before Big Tens and regionals.”

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