Iowa track earns one individual silver at nationals

BY TOM CLOS | JUNE 11, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Hawkeye track teams wound up with six All-Americans at the 2012 NCAA meet in Des Moines on June 6-9, but the Hawkeyes' high hopes of claiming the the school's first individual national title since 2006 went unmet.

So Iowa's wait for a gold medal goes to six years and counting.

Iowa finished the men's team competition with 12 points, good for 23rd place overall. The women's team didn't place, and Iowa didn't crown a national champion.

Seniors Matt Banse, Troy Doris, McKenzie Melander, and Erik Sowinski, juniors Justin Austin, Matt Byers, Ethan Holmes, and sophomore Ashley Liverpool all went winless in the Capital City.

Holmes kicked off the Hawkeyes' weekend on June 6 with an 18th place, 51.68 seconds finsih in the men's 400-meter hurdles. Liverpool closed Day One with a 13th-place performance in the 400-meter dash, clocking a time of 52.81, which earned her second-team All-American honors.

Byers notched Iowa's first top-10 finish of the weekend on June 7 with a 72.39-meter throw in the javelin — good for 10th place and a second-team All-American spot.

Austin hit 20.71 in the 200-meter dash, placing 13th, which gave him All-American honors as well. Holmes competed in his second NCAA event and closed out his weekend with 19th place in the 110-meter hurdles.

Three Iowa athletes gave their farewell performances for the Black and Gold on June 8.

Banse opened the action with a 20th-place toss of 60.33 meters in the hammer throw.

"I ended the year the way I wanted," he said. "I made it to nationals, and I'm happy about that."

Sowinski was the big winner of the weekend — he surged to second place finish in the 800 meters with a silver medal-worthy time of 1:45.90. The Iowa runner notched the Hawkeyes' lone top-three finish.

"It's awesome,"he said. "To take second against such a tough field, it's great."

Doris was the Hawkeyes' best hope of finding that elusive national title, and he initially flew into second place with a leap of 16.48 meters. But three opponents passed him late, knocking him to fifth.

"It's a good feeling to be here, but I always wanted to win," Doris said. "I didn't get my victory."

Melander, a first-time qualifier in the 5,000 meters, closed Iowa's NCAA meet with a 14th-place finish, giving the Hawkeyes six All-Americans during the weekend.

"To make it to [NCAAs] in my last meet was obviously a great way to finish," Melander said. "It felt good to be here."

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