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Men tracksters not yet satisfied

BY JORDAN HANSEN | APRIL 28, 2014 5:00 AM

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As junior Gabe Hull stood in the center of the discus ring with a sheepish grin and small Drake champion flag, two things were clear.

First, he had just won an event that he had lost last season by 2 centimeters and had finally won at one of the highest levels of track.

Second, the crowd of Hawkeyes that swarmed him after he finished talking to reporters only added to the idea of the team-first atmosphere that is so prevalent on this year’s squad.

“You always want to win, but you’re here for the competition, and you’re here to improve as an individual and help the team,” Hull said. “My hopes are that height of the competition will help fellow throwers and fellow athletes who are here watching me and cheering me on.”

His team-first attitude is born from his humble personality but also from what the coaching staff has been talking about all season. Hull is one of the older members of a team that is learning how to win.

This is something head coach Layne Anderson referred when he refused to call the results of the relays encouraging.

“Encouraging is a word that I would use if it was an old squad that was maybe starting to turn some corners,” Anderson said. “This is a young team that is really growing in confidence and showing a lot of promise for the future.”

When words such as “future” and “promise” are thrown around, it normally is an indication that the season is being tossed to the scrapheap in a pursuit of a better season the next year and several events are works in progress.

Some, however, refute that assessment and believe that this season is anything but over.

Among those are freshman O’Shea Wilson, who, in addition to finishing fifth and eighth in the long jump and 100 meters, is also a critical part of a talented 4x100 relay.

“I’m trying to get the 4×100 and Tevin [-Cee Mincy] to the NCAA finals, that’s my main goal right now,” Wilson said. “It’s been my goal to get to the finals ever since I got to Iowa — we just got to make it happen.”

As dedicated as he is to getting to that goal, the 4x100 is something of a quandary.

In the preliminaries, the coaching staff went with a younger lineup that featured a senior in Mincy, a freshman in Wilson, and two sophomores in Brendan Thompson and James Harrington.

After a poor finish by Harrington in the preliminaries, he was replaced by junior Keith Brown, and the team ran a season best while finally getting to a goal Mincy has had all season — getting under 40 seconds.

Most impressive though, is that Brown had barely run all year and was something of an afterthought going into Drake. Despite this, Mincy still gave Brown quite a bit of credit for the solid finish.

“We had a bad handoff that set us back, but we were able to push through it,” Mincy said. “Keith Brown finished strong, and that’s probably the best finish he’s ever had, which is a good feeling going forward.”


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