Hawkeye 400-meter relay team looking to continue success

BY MATT CABEL | APRIL 11, 2013 5:00 AM

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Justin Austin, Ethan Holmes Josh Larney and Tevin-Cee Mincy shared a common goal: breaking the Iowa men’s track and field record in the 400-meter relay.

They did that five days ago in Tucson, Ariz.

“Given as few chances as we have to run in decent weather, we all knew that was the weekend,” Mincy said. “If we were going to break it, it was going to be that weekend.”

They ran to the tune of 39.35 seconds and broke the school record of 39.99 that head coach Larry Wieczorek said was set in 1984. The mark sits first in the Big Ten rankings, fourth nationally.

“We all put our focus into that 4x1, we gave it our all, and we got our goal.” Mincy said.

Mincy served as the first-leg of the relay, followed by Austin and Holmes, and anchored by Larney.

Wieczorek believes that the relay, which headlines the meets, played a part in the team’s second-place finish at the Jim Click Shootout that weekend.

“We go into meets like sharks,” Austin said. “It’s the first event of a meet — you want to go out there and set the tone. We want to bring the heat from the first event — the 400-meter relay — to the last event, the 4x4.”

Iowa’s coaching staff hopes to keep the relay’s personnel consistent for the remainder of the season.

Chemistry is an important value for the quartet. Larney primarily practices with the jumpers, but Austin said the whole group gets together a lot during their downtime, which is important for their rapport.

“You get a certain level of trust when you’re close with the guys that you’re running with,” Holmes said. “You really have to trust that you can hold them accountable … I trust all the guys on my relay, and I trust that they’re going to show up ready to compete on that day. That comes with the style of relationship that we have.”

The confidence and chemistry starts with Holmes. The senior captain holds himself and his teammates to high standards and levels of competition.

“He’s ‘cockident,’ ” Wieczorek said. “That’s a combination of cockiness and confident. He’s ‘cockident’ because he’s prepared — he’s earned that right. He wonders how much he’s going to succeed; he believes he’s going to succeed.”

But the group isn’t going to stop breaking its record — they plan on continuing to set a new mark as the season progresses. Their goal is to get their time under 39 seconds.

They’re seeking a Big Ten title and toward qualifying for the finals of the NCAAs and earning All-American status. Wieczorek said his quartet has “every right to think that they can get better in that relay than they have before.”

“Our expectations are higher than what we did this weekend,” Holmes added. “It was great to set the school record and run fast and all that, but we still have higher expectations. We have room to build and improve.”

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