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Softball climbs Big Ten

The Iowa softball team finished as the Big Ten runner-up on May 12, improving from an eighth-place finish in 2011. The second-place title is the highest Iowa has finished since the team tied for second in 2004. The Hawkeyes finished one game over .500, 27-26, but boasted a 16-8 conference record. Michigan (39-15, 18-5) won its fifth-straight Big Ten title.

Five Hawkeyes earned all-conference honors. Shortstop Megan Blank, pitcher Kayla Massey, and catcher Liz Watkins earned first-team honors while third baseman Michelle Zoeller made the second team and centerfielder Johnnie Dowling third team.

Blank was also named to the NFCA all-Midwest Region second team, becoming the first freshman since 2000 to earn all-region honors. Blank lead the Hawkeyes in 8 separate offensive categories: Batting average, hits, doubles, triples, walks, fewest strikeouts, slugging percentage and on-base percentage. The freshman also lead all short stops in the Big Ten in both RBI (16) and fielding percentage (.971).

Track and field captures 10 medals, 3 champions

The Iowa track and field team crowned three individual Big Ten champions en route to the men's fifth-place and women's eighth-place finish on May 11-13: McKenzie Melander in the 5,000 meters, Matt Byers in javelin, and Troy Davis in triple jump. The champions were also awarded first-team all-Big Ten honors. Byers became the fifth Hawkeye in school history to earn three conference titles in the same event.

"Between this year and last year's Big Ten Championships we have five or six runner-up performances," head coach Layne Anderson said in a release. "To finally get one of those individual titles is a great thing for these girls and this program."

The men finished the tournament in fifth and the women earned eighth place. Melander also snagged a silver medal in the 10,000 meters as Iowa's only multi-medal winner this season. Betsy Flood (5,000 meters), Ethan Holmes (110-meter hurdles), and Ashley Liverpool (400 meters) were also runners up, earning second-team all-conference honors. Justin Austin (200 meters), Jeffery Herron (high jump), and Erik Sowinski (800 meters) placed third.

Rowing finishes last in Big Ten

The Iowa rowing team took seventh place at the Big Ten Championships on May 13. The Hawkeyes earned 29 points, 15 less than sixth-place Indiana. Michigan captured the conference title with 147 points.

The Hawkeyes' Varsity 4 crew finished seventh with a time of 7:42.757, less than a second behind Indiana. The second Varsity 4 boat also finished seventh in 8:04.831. The Varsity 8 crew finished seventh in 6:47.587 and the 2nd Varsity 8 finished sixth in 6:49.184.

Sophomore Annemarie Bernhard was named to the first-team all-Big Ten and junior Katy Kroll earned second-team honors.

Two hoopsters announce retirement

Iowa women's basketball head coach Lisa Bluder announced on May 18 that sophomore Jade Rogers and freshman Virginia Johnson will discontinue playing for Iowa after battling long-term injuries.

Rogers missed all but 13 games of her freshman year in 2010-11 due to a knee injury. She underwent surgery last year to realign her limb, but the procedure caused her to miss the entire 2011-12 season.

"Even though it's a tough decision to make, ending her career will help her improve her quality of life down the road," Bluder said in a release.

Johnson suffered several concussions in high school and continued to be plagued by the head injuries during her freshman year. She only played in 13 games. Despite producing impressive numbers — including 6 points and 6 rebounds against No. 13 Purdue on Jan. 15 — Bluder said "concussions are something you can't dismiss" and Johnson's retirement is in the best interest to her health.

Swimming inks all-star recruiting class

The men's and women's swimming and diving team signed a combined 20 swimmers who will join the team in the fall. The men are welcoming 13 recruits for the 2012-13 season while the women only added seven.

Olivia Kabacinski has won 10 all-American titles and three high school state titles. Kabacinski's best times in the 50 freestyle (23.06), 100 freestyle (49.96) are faster than Iowa's school records.

Athletes named to Academic All-Big Ten team

Sixty-six Hawkeyes finished the spring semester on the academic all-conference team, which requires that student-athletes earn letters in their second academic year and maintain a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher.

The women's track and field team boasted the most honorees with 17, tying a team record. Eight other teams included athletes that were honored: Rowing (14), men's track and field (10), baseball (7), softball (6), men's tennis (5), women's tennis (3), and women's golf (1).

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