Hawkeyes finish 46th at NCAAs

BY BEN SCHUFF | JUNE 13, 2011 7:20 AM

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That word was uttered far too often over the weekend for the liking of the Iowa men’s track and field team.

The Hawkeyes tied for 46th place at the NCAA outdoor track and field championships in Des Moines on June 8-11. The team scored four points, thanks to Troy Doris’ fifth-place finish in the triple jump on the final day of competition.

Iowa’s performance was disappointing on various levels. The Black and Gold competed in the semifinals of five events at Drake Stadium, but no Hawks advanced to the finals.

After winning the outdoor Big Ten championship, the Hawkeyes placed behind three other Big Ten squads in the final standings.

“Our guys are going to remember just how good you have to be, how tough you have to be, and how fortunate you have to be that you are at your very best when you get here,” Iowa men’s head coach Larry Wieczorek said.

The 46th-place finish may be most disappointing when compared with how well the team did at the NCAA indoor meet in March — Iowa placed eighth.

Iowa athletes competed in the finals of five events at the indoor championships in College Station, Texas, but the Hawkeyes only competed in the finals of two events at the outdoor championships.

Wieczorek kept everything in perspective when asked why many of his runners failed to advance to the finals of their respective events. Sophomore Ethan Holmes didn’t move on in either the 110 or 400 hurdles, for example, but the Big Ten Coach of the Year talked about everything Holmes had accomplished throughout the outdoor season.

“When we step back, [we] say ‘Hey, you’re an NCAA semifinalist this year, and last year you weren’t even a factor,’” Wieczorek said about Holmes. “Once the disappointment is over and he looks at the whole season, I think he is going to be chomping at the bit to go next year.

“[He’ll] realize all he has accomplished this year.”

Iowa put forth a good effort in several events. Jeff Herron’s mark in the high jump tied him with jumpers from other schools who earned points — he just took more attempts to leap over the 7-foot, 1/4-inch bar. Erik Sowinksi finished with a personal-best time in the 800 meters. Justin Austin was only .04 second away from reaching the finals of the 200 meters.

The 4x400-meter relay team ran its fastest time of the season in Des Moines. In fact, the time of 3:05.64 in Des Moines was faster than the time 4x400 relay team ran when it finished in fourth place at the indoor championships.

“I think this was best time we’ve ran since I’ve been here,” said senior Chris Barton, who ran the anchor leg of the 4x400 relay. “That’s a good way to go out.”

But this time, it wasn’t enough.

“When you have high expectations and you don’t perform [at] the level you expect, then there is always a little bitter taste,” Iowa assistant coach Joey Woody said. “But I’m proud of these guys. I’m fortunate to have great athletes and great people to coach. That’s more than just having talent. These are good guys.”

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