Iowa track and field set to compete at Drake Relays


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The Iowa track and field team will have a busy few days at the Drake Relays this coming weekend. The trip to Des Moines will be highlighted with a ceremony inducting Iowa Director of Track and Field Larry Wieczorek into the Drake Relays Hall of Fame in a ceremony tonight.

Wieczorek will be enshrined after coaching two relay teams and five individuals to Drake Relay titles in his 26 years as a coach at Iowa. Head coach Layne Anderson said he believes the 1969 Iowa alumnus is deserves the honor and is an outstanding role model as a coach.

“I’ve learned a lot from him. His energy level and his optimism and his enthusiasm is contagious,” Anderson said. “No matter what kind of mood I’m in, when I get around him, it immediately lifts my spirits.”

Competition will begin at 9:30 a.m. today on the Jim Duncan Track and Johnny Bright Field on the campus of Drake University. The relays will continue through Saturday.

The men’s team will enter the Drake Relays as the 12th-ranked team in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross County Coaches Association¬† top-25 rankings. Five individual athletes and a relay team are nationally ranked.

Senior Justin Austin is rated fourth in the 200-meter dash, and he is also a member of the 4x100 relay team that includes junior Tevin-Cee Mincy and seniors Josh Larney and Ethan Holmes.

Wieczorek will look for more consistency from the 4x100-meter relay this weekend after the team was disqualified for dropping the baton on April 20 and ran without Holmes, who was nursing an Achilles injury.

“They can be a real good team,” Wieczorek said. “Obviously, we messed up the exchange, so that’s a key we’ll have to work on. But we can be a contending team in the Drake Relays in the 4x100. But I think we’re going into the relays with good momentum.”

The women’s team will be led by junior Jasmine Simpson and senior Majesty Tutson, who will attempt to improve their marks in the hammer throw and discus, respectively.

Simpson holds the school record in the hammer throw with a mark of 197-7 meters, set on March 23. That mark currently ranks third in the Big Ten this year. Tutson also broke the school record in the discus on April 6. Her toss of 177-10 earned her the top spot in the conference and the 14th best throw in the national rankings.

“I had a little frustrating spot in the middle of the season,” Simpson said. “But after this weekend I feel like I’m back on the ‘up.’ ”

Anderson echoed Simpson’s optimism, and he is confident his squad will compete well in Des Moines.

“We’re coming in with some good momentum and it’s a chance to compete at a great venue against some of the top competition in the country,” he said. “I think our expectations are high and rightfully so.”

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