Hawkeye men's track finds success in Musco Twilight Meet'

BY MATT CABEL | APRIL 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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Jordan Mullen leapt over the final hurdle; Wisconsin’s Japheth Cato in front of him by barely an inch. But with a burst of speed, the Atlantic, Iowa, native landed on his feet, pushed forward, swung his arms, and put his head out, passing Cato at the finish.

“[Cato] was with me the whole time,” Mullen said. “I ran really good through five-six hurdles there. My hips dropped, his didn’t, so he was right there with me.” It was a true photographic finish — fans at Cretzmeyer track were on their feet and conversing about the race, unsure if Mullen had managed to edge out Cato at the finish line until the video replay confirmed the Hawkeye victory. Mullen said close races like his are “some of the most fun races to win” even if he wasn’t as pleased as he would have liked with his time.

Although Mullen, Cato, and four other athletes times didn’t count because of No Wind Index marks, resulting in Iowa’s Kyle Reid winning the event, the event accomplished one of head coach Larry Wieczorek’s goals: showing the annual Musco Twilight crowd that track and field can be a spectator sport. “I’ll take that race any day of the week — they’re just fun,” Mullen said. “It gets the crowd out of their seats, it gets them going. You get to look at the board and see who wins. It’s exciting to run like that.”

Another highlight race for the men’s team came in the 100-meter dash. Seniors Justin Austin and Josh Larney finished first and second, with times of 10.51 and 10.61. Junior Tevin-Cee Mincy finished out in third with a 10.86 time. “It was an ugly start,” said Austin, who also took first place in the event at the Musco Twilight meet in 2012. “But what I bank on, my finish, came on strong. I just trusted my body and it did what it usually does, so I finished it off well.”

While no team scores were kept, the Hawkeyes earned first place in numerous events. Many individuals earned season- and personal-best times in preparation for next weekend’s Drake Relays in Des Moines. Senior Matt Byers earned first place and a season-best javelin throw with a throw of 234-8 feet that is currently second in the Big Ten, and sophomore Gabe Hull took the men’s shot put title with a personal best of 56-9¼. “I think the key is to keep improving and compete hard,” Byers said in a release after the competition. “My consistency this season is as good as it’s been in two years, so it’s a good sign, and it shows I’m on the right path to do good things. The goal is to be at my best during the championship season.”

At the end of the day, Wieczorek said, he was pleased with his team’s contributions, setting his squad up for success going into the Drake Relays. “Overall, I think our veterans, the guys that we expected to do well did well,” Wieczorek said. “Gabe Hull threw well in the discus, Matt Byers in the javelin — those type of things. I think it was a good meet for us, and it definitely helped us get better.”

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