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Men's track captains let performance speak for itself

BY BEN SCHUFF | DECEMBER 15, 2010 7:10 AM

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Larry Wieczorek joked that he sometimes forgets two of his captains are even on the team.

While some Hawkeyes are brought to the attention of the men's head track and field coach on a daily basis for poor class work or other issues, Erik Sowinski and Ryan Lamparek have gone relatively unnoticed while achieving a lot.

In his 15th year as Iowa's head coach, the two captains are the kind of people Wieczorek wants because they make his job easier.

They're also just the type of athlete he uses as examples to follow, describing them as "low-maintenance."

"Here is Sowinski and Lamparek, both NCAA qualifiers and both Academic All-Americans," Wieczorek said. "I forget they're on the team sometimes, except when we're at the NCAA championships, and I have to find them to give them their meal money."

Despite lying low, the juniors haven't gone unnoticed.

Captains for the team are voted on by the athletes and then decided on by the coaches. However, the two each received so many votes that the coaches' decision wasn't necessary.

Perhaps that shouldn't come as a surprise. Sowinski and Lamparek were both captains on several high-school teams — Sowinski for track and basketball, Lamparek for track and football — and have shown their ability to lead in the past.

While neither is particularly vocal, both think they lead by example.

Sowinski said he is trying to be a little more vocal this year as an upperclassman, but he is still letting his performance do the talking.

And he has plenty of ability to do so.

"He came here as a good high-school athlete from Wisconsin, but he has made himself into a blue-chip college athlete," Wieczorek said. "He's really kind of got the whole package. He's a regular guy, but he has his priorities straight."

Throwing coach Scott Cappos had similar sentiments about Lamparek's leadership. He said Lamparek's done a good job of helping some of the younger throwers on the team.

Freshman and fellow thrower Andy Carman has taken note of Lamparek's ways and what it means to be college athlete.

"He comes to practice every day fired up and ready to go and ready to practice," Carman said. "He always wants to be here."

Roommate Matt Banse said Lamparek is the type to stand up for what he believes and isn't afraid to be vocal.

"He is going to motivate the throws group and the team as a whole," Banse said. "If we have a bad meet, he will keep our heads in the right direction."

With a team of nearly just as many upperclassmen as underclassmen, leadership could play a big role as the Hawkeyes work toward their end-of-the-season goal.

"I might put a little more pressure on myself," Sowinski said about being a captain. "It's just an opportunity to lead and, hopefully, lead this team to a Big Ten championship."


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