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Track and field hosts Musco Twilight this weekend

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

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As the sun goes down this weekend, the Iowa track and field team will still be in the midst of its final home meet of the season.

The 11th-annual Musco Twilight Meet is on tap Saturday evening, and it is a special event for the Hawkeyes. It’s one of four meets the team hosts this year, and it is arguably the squad’s biggest event.

Several attractions will await fans at Cretzmeyer Track.

Head coach Larry Wieczorek said there will be fireworks after the National Anthem and a finale when the meet concludes. Also, a $250,000 Jumbotron will be provided for the evening, as well as Musco Lighting’s massive mobile lights.

Wieczorek said he expects it to be an entertaining night.

“It’s going to be a fun night and fun atmosphere,” he said. “We put a lot into this. That’s one of our goals for the night, to have fun.”

It will be even more fun for the Hawkeyes if they can manage to best the other four competitors — Wisconsin, Minnesota, Drake, and Northern Iowa.

Running under the lights at home is a perk Wieczorek said he thinks his squad will capitalize on.

“I think athletes do like to compete under the lights because it makes it a little extra special,” he said. “When you switch on the lights, it kind of creates a magical environment.”

The men should get another adrenaline boost with their brand-new No. 26 ranking next to their name.

“It gives us a lot of pride that we can be in the top 26 teams of the 300 or so Division-I teams,” Wieczorek said.

The Musco Twilight Meet also has particular significance for the women Hawkeyes.

For those who will not compete in the Big Ten championship, this will be their last meet of the season.

For the seniors, Musco is their last home meet ever, and they will be formally recognized. In addition, the Big Ten Network will broadcast the event live.

It is also parents’ weekend, so the Iowa women look forward to having added support and a larger crowd. For freshman Megan Ranegar, it will be the first time her parents have been be able to see her run at the college level.

“The parents being here will add more fans, and the atmosphere will be more exciting for our team,” she said. “But I’m going to try not to make it add more pressure. Hopefully, it will add to the excitement and adrenaline.”

After a knee problem cut her 5,000-kilometer race short at last weekend’s Drake Relays, Ranegar said she hopes her performance at home will be her last solid race before the Big Tens.

Junior Bethany Praska said she hopes to cut her time down to boost her confidence going in the conference championship. She will run the 800 meters this weekend, and she said she is excited to get a “taste of the competition” she will face again in two weeks.

“After Musco, we’ll be able to see what we’re better at and what we need to work on,” Praska said. “But we’ve added a lot of depth to our team, and I think this weekend will be a good chance to prove that we have really strong forces all across the board.”


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