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Track and field enjoys home meet over weekend

BY MATT SCHOMMER and MICHELE DANNO | APRIL 19, 2010 7:30 AM

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As the injuries mounted, the Iowa track and field team pushed on, earning several wins across the board over the weekend at Cretzmeyer Track.

A few key Hawkeyes suffered tweaks and twists, and the damage remains to be seen. Jordan Mullen, Kevin Dibbern, and Steven Bee all came up limping from their events, and a knee problem that had kept Jeff Thode out of practice all week also prevented him from participating in the home meet.

“I am concerned,” head coach Larry Wieczorek said. “In track and field, it’s a little different than in football. A guy can have an injury, and they can tape you up, and you play. But in track and field, it’s more like thoroughbred racehorses — if they got a little problem in the leg, well, you can’t race with a limp.”

Wieczorek said he and his staff should know the extent of the injuries later in the week and whether the athletes want to risk additional damage before the Big Ten championships next month.

For those who went full speed, the results were favorable.

Matt Banse continued his dominance in the hammer throw, winning the event for the third week in a row — a streak he said he and the other throwers look to continue as long as possible.

“As a group, we are finally figuring out the hammer,” he said. “Every practice is like a little competition — trying to do better than the other person but helping them out at the same time.”

The spirited practice sessions are paying dividends for Banse’s fellow throwers. Ryan Lamparek and Ben Stancombe both set personal bests in the hammer, and the effort has pervaded throughout the rest of the track and field team and found its way to Nick Kuczwara.

In the 800 meters, Nick Kuczwara ran what is known as a “negative split” — his second 400 meters was faster than the first 400. That generally tends to be the other way around.

The women’s depth was also tested at Cretzmeyer Track.

The Hawkeyes won more than half of their events without some of Iowa’s top competitors.

Women’s head coach Layne Anderson said his athletes benefited from waking up in their own beds and from the short commute to the team’s home track. Going home after the 5:30 afternoon finish on April 17 was also a refreshing change from the past few weekends on the road, he said.

The meet demonstrated that the young Hawkeyes are developing.

Freshman Tiffany Medenwaldt set a personal record in the women’s hammer throw with a distance of 51.45 meters to place first. The hammer throw is an event Anderson said his first-year women don’t have much experience in, but the weekend meet was indicative of their progress over the last few months.

For the steeplechase, the Iowa coaching staff has trained two women who have never competed in the event before, both of whom did so for the first time last weekend.

Sophomore Danielle Berndt and senior Katie Ellis finished first and second, respectively — placements that surprised the inexperienced pair.

“I wanted to run the steeple for a long time, so I was really excited to get the opportunity,” Berndt said. “It was a plus it went well. I didn’t really know what I was doing, but I had a lot of fun.”


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