Iowa men's track closes a less-than-stellar season


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The Iowa men’s track and field team’s season can be summed up by its performance in the Big Ten meet last weekend. The team had players set personal bests and had a handful of top-five finishes, but in the end they only placed seventh out of 11 as a team.

Head coach Larry Wieczorek had a season-long goal of having around 100 paper points in the final meet of the season. The squad finished the meet with 49 points.

“That’s about where we were on paper,” the 26th year coach said. “One thing I always talk about is the paper points. Our goal was to be a 100-point team. We knew we weren’t that, but we got about what we had on paper.”

The lone winner for Iowa in the championships was senior Jordan Mullen in the 60-meter hurdles, and he set the school record with a time of 7.70 seconds. Mullen, the owner of the previous mark, has broken the record three separate times this year.

Senior Josh Larney placed second in the 60 meters, and sophomore Babatunde Amosu finished second in the triple jump. Aside from those marks, however, the Hawkeyes didn’t have any other athletes place in the top five.

Assistant coach Mike Scott said the student-athletes under his watch didn’t perform like he would have liked to have seen throughout the season.

“I would have liked to have seen more out of my high jumpers,” he said. “I have a senior veteran who’s been there before who just didn’t get it done, and then I have a freshman who’s kind of having some growing issues in terms of adjusting to college and some of the physical demands of being a college athlete.”

Team scores were only kept in two events in the indoor season. The Hawkeyes finished second of five teams in the Adidas Classic in Lincoln, Neb., on Jan. 19 and third of 10 teams in the Bill Bergan Invitational held in Ames on Jan. 26.

However underwhelming this season was for the track team as a whole, most coaches and athletes look at it as the halfway point. With the outdoor season beginning in less than a month, the athletes who won’t head to the Last Chance Meet in Ames this weekend are preparing for the upcoming season.

“The majority of the guys are already starting to get their training in,” assistant coach Joey Woody said. “We’re starting to get the foundation work in. We’ve just got to train hard and set our goals higher. We can be more dedicated and committed on and off the track. As a whole, commitment is the biggest thing.”

The team that takes to the track in the spring will be slightly different than the one that competed over the winter. Justin Austin, who was an honorable mention All-American and won the 200 meters in the Big Ten meet in 2011, will rejoin the team after not having any indoor eligibility left.

Three-time Big Ten champion javelin thrower Matt Byers will also bring a boost to the team in his senior year as well. Wieczorek noted that a lot of the best athletes on the team are seniors and that he doesn’t want them to end their college careers with a disappointing outdoor season.

“There’s a lot of positive feeling for the men’s team headed into the outdoor season,” he said. “We can still get some things better as we go toward the end.”

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