Iowa men's track looks tough


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The Iowa track and field teams kicked off the indoor season on Dec. 3 with its annual Black and Gold intrasquad meet.

The Gold squad won the men's meet by one point, 46-45, at the Recreation Building in front of bleachers full of students, family members, and potential recruits, who got a firsthand taste of what college athletics will be like.

The Iowa coaching staff and runners said the meet was an important benchmark in figuring out where they stand early in the season.

"For a lot of our guys, we have been training all fall and working hard. It's a chance for us, as coaches, to assess where we're at — and for the runners to assess where we're at," coach Larry Wieczorek said. "We feel real good about what happened tonight, and we're going to get ready for the season. We are pretty excited to get things started, we had lots of good performances up and down the line."

One of those performances occurred in the field events. Freshman Gabe Hull, a silver medalist in the discus at the Pan-Am Junior Track and Field Championships last summer, won the intrasquad shot put with a throw of 16.71 meters.

Another event that impressed coaches was the 1,000 meters. The event featured only two runners, senior All-American Erik Sowinski and sophomore Nathan Prom. The latter said both he and Sowinski wanted to reach the 800-meter mark in 1:55, a significant time because of the challenge of starting fast and still being able to finish strong.

"[Prom] is running right with Erik Sowinksi, an All-American, and Prom is a sophomore, a guy developing — and it measures where he has come in one year," Wieczorek said. "There is no way in the world he could have been there last year at this time. So it's a measure of his improvement, and he is a guy who can really be a positive impact for us this season."

Sowinski paced the race most of the way, but Prom seemed to get a second wind in the last 50 meters. The sophomore pulled ahead for the victory with a time of 2:24.50 — .04 seconds faster than Sowinski.

"I felt fine, actually," Prom said. "Going into the race, our legs were kind of tired earlier in the week. We rested up and ended up running fast like we wanted to."

Prom said he will use his success in the 1,000 meters as motivation as he prepares to run the 1,200 meters.

Last year's Big Ten Athlete of the Year, Justin Austin, ran in only one event — but it was the 4x400 relay, an event in which the junior didn't compete last season. Austin led off for his team and got it a lead it didn't give up, winning with a time of 3:16.21.

The coaching staff said it was trying to see how Austin would perform in the relay and now would like to solidify his spot on the relay team.

The Hawkeyes' next meet is the New Year's Classic, on Jan. 14, 2012, in Iowa City.

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