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Senior hurdlers bring Iowa track records and leadership

BY TOMMY REINKING | FEBRUARY 14, 2013 5:00 AM

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Jordan Mullen and Ethan Holmes are used to breaking records by now.

Mullen has broken his own mark in the 60-meter hurdles not once but twice this season. His time of 7.73 is the fastest in school history.

Holmes hasn’t been far behind him all season. The senior’s time of 7.83 at the Bill Bergen Invitational is the second-fastest ever at Iowa.

“They’ve worked really hard to get to this level, and they’re not afraid to compete against the best competition in the U.S,” ssistant track coach Joey Woody said.

Holmes and Mullen, both seniors, only have two indoor meets left in their careers at Iowa. Friday will be their last home meet when they take part in the Iowa Invitational. After that is the biggest meet of the season: the Big Ten championships in Geneva, Ohio.

The pair will look to continue its winning ways in the late-season events, but Woody said Holmes and Mullen have done more good for the program than the accolades they’ve received.

“What I like is they’re both Iowa guys,” the sixth-year coach said. “When we recruit in-state, it shows that you can be an in-state kid and you might not be the best in the country, but you can get in the program. Once you’re in the program, you have a great chance of developing like an Ethan Holmes or a Jordan Mullen.”

Aside from speed and ability, another attribute that Holmes has learned throughout his years as a Hawkeye has been how to be a leader. Holmes is a captain.

“It’s voted on by the team, so to have the team look up to you as a captain feels good. It feels good to just go out there and lead your team,” the Clinton, Iowa, native said.

Even though he’s not a captain, Mullen also brings something special to the team aside from records. Woody described the Atlantic native as more outgoing and eccentric in his personality.

“He’s kind of like a spark. If people come in and they’re feeling tired, down, quiet, or anything, Jordan’s always there and he’s always the loudest one. Even at 7 a.m., when we’re getting ready for weights. He’s a great guy to have around,” Holmes said.

Woody said that the duo have become prime examples of how athletes should act and compete as Hawkeyes. Their leadership becomes even more important as the Big Ten meet approaches.

Assistant coach Mike Scott said each has been a leader for the team in his own way.

“Ethan is really a lead-by-example kind of guy,” he said. “You’d be hard-pressed to come to the track room or the weight room and not see him working his tail off. Jordan is an encourager. He’s always cheering on his teammates.”

As the pair’s time at Iowa comes to a close, the pair wants to leave a mark that lasts longer than just their four years as a Hawkeye.

“It’s exciting to have a time that’s up there with the competition,” Holmes said. “But at the same time, it all comes down to how you compete on the big day of the Big Ten meet.”


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