Campbell pulling double duty for Iowa football, track

BY TORK MASON | APRIL 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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Being a Division-I athlete can be like a full-time job; the time commitment can be strenuous.

But what about being a two-sport athlete?

Torrey Campbell, for example, redshirted his freshman season as a defensive back on the Iowa football team in the fall. He'll spend most of his spring as a hurdler on the track team.

Being a two-sport athlete can be challenging — especially at this point in the year, when the football team works through spring practice. Coaches for both squads have to be willing to give to the other program when the seasons overlap, head men's track coach Larry Wieczorek said.

"[The athletes] have obligations to football during the year, training-wise," he said. "But football usually accommodates when we have track meets and things like that. They don't overdo it with their training because they know [the athletes] are already getting pretty good training with us."

Iowa defensive-back coach Darrell Wilson said Campbell's primary focus during spring practice is football, but he'll hit the track in earnest after the football team's open practice on April 14.

Campbell currently works out with his track teammates on Monday afternoons.

"You have to love both sports enough to take the time out of your day to do both," Campbell said. "And you have to have coaches who are willing to help and have a good support system. I have both."

Campbell said missing practices is never ideal, but that it gives him extra motivation to work hard. The Naples, Fla., native said the people he competes against are able to dedicate themselves entirely to track, which leaves him trying to catch up at times.

Assistant track coach Joey Woody said Campbell's limited practice time has its benefits for the rest of the team, too.

"Having him here once a week is better than nothing," he said. "We're always excited when he comes down. Everybody's like, 'Oh yeah, Torrey. We've still got Torrey.' It just raises everybody's spirits when he's around."

Wieczorek agreed and said it's good to know reinforcements are on the way — even if the team has to go without some of its members for a few weeks. He said the football athletes get back on the track more quickly now than they did when he first started coaching at Iowa in 1984, thanks to a shorter spring-practice schedule.

Woody said there's a particular formula that has to be in place for someone to succeed in two sports at a major university.

"Torrey has got all the tools and the intangibles you need," he said. "He has the desire to be a great runner and football player; he's a guy who's got the emotional makeup to be able to balance everything; and academics are huge, too."

Campbell isn't the first Hawkeye to juggle the two sports. Nine others — including Tim Dwight, Fred Russell, and Warren Holloway — have been named letter-winners in both football and track since 1997.

Wieczorek said his experience has shown that track helps an individual's performance on the gridiron. He said he has never had a football player who was held back by running track.

Campbell said running hurdles helps keep his hips loose, important for someone who must turn and run downfield with wide receivers on Saturdays. The speed training he does for track also carries over well to football, he said.

But Wieczorek said there's a particular aspect of football that translates well to track, too.

"The football guy is typically a good athlete, a tough athlete, a competitive athlete," he said. "They bring a nice element to our team; a lot of times they've had success in football, and they're tough competitors. It's a nice dimension that they bring to the team."

Follow DI men's track reporter Tork Mason on Twitter.

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