Iowa sprints to third place finish in Bill Bergen Invitational


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AMES — The Iowa men’s track and field team scored 96 points and ended its final day at the Bill Bergen Invitational on Feb. 1 in third place. Minnesota won the meet with a score of 153, and Kansas State finished in second at 106. The meet, which ran from Jan. 30 to Feb 1, featured 10 teams from four conferences and was held at the Lied Recreation Center on the campus of Iowa State.

The high finish was deceiving, however, considering that the Black and Gold did not perform particularly well, especially in the field and distance events. The Hawk’s only top finish in the field was junior Gabe Hull’s win in the shot put (17.81m).

“We had some individual highlights today, and we took some steps forward, but I also think we took some steps backwards today in certain areas as well,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “We have to be a complete team; we have to get people firing on all cylinders on all days.”

Iowa fared a little better in the distance events, as sophomore Caleb Wilfong and freshman Brook Price finished second and third in the 1,000 meter with times of 2:30.17 and 2:31.79. No other distance event found an Iowa runner place better than sixth.

“We fought as a team, and we’re making a lot of progress as the season goes on,” Wilfong said. “It’s nice for that one guy to be getting that PR, but we want everyone to take a step forward each week.”

Much like the previous meets, the sprinters carried the Hawkeyes to respectability. Senior Tevin-Cee Mincy won his third-straight 60 meters with a time of 6.73, a personal record. Sophomore James Harrington (6.92) finished fourth in the event, and freshman O’Shea Wilson (6.93) finished in fifth.

“It feels great,” Mincy said. “I was never doing this well previous years, but this year I keep getting [personal records], and Coach keeps working with me — each one just seems to feel better, and I just keep running better.”

Harrington continued his strong showing with a win in the 200 meters, setting a personal best of 21.41. Junior Keith Brown wasn’t far behind with a 21.92 time and a third-place finish.

The last top finish of the day came when freshman Aaron Mallett (8.03) finished second in the 60-meter hurdles. He ran the fastest time in preliminaries (8.08) but couldn’t quite grab first place, missing the top spot by 0.08 of a second.

Despite the sprint wins and a few good things happening elsewhere, the entire meet for Iowa felt flat. The Hawks never really hit their groove and won the races they needed in order to gain an overall victory. Some of this can be attributed to better competition, but it’s also important to note that several teams were not at full strength and did not participate in all the events.

“Overall, honestly, my feeling is not good,” director of track and field Larry Wieczorek said. “In spite of those many highlights, I’m starting to feel that we need a lot of other people to step up who are not stepping up.”

The Hawkeyes’ next meet will take them to scenic Lincoln, Neb., where they will compete in the aptly named Husker Invitational Friday and Saturday.

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