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Many tracksters shine at Musco

BY JORDAN HANSEN | MAY 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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As the Musco Twilight meet came to a close on May 3 and bright fireworks lit the night sky, the Hawkeyes looked like a team that is poised to make noise at the Big Ten championships in just a few weeks.

In the first event of the day, junior Gabe Hull’s school record 63.11-meter discus throw gave him the third longest throw in the nation. He also finished third in the shot, leading assistant coach Scott Cappos to feel very confident about the current state of the team.

“We definitely have some great things happening in the men’s program — in the throws, and we had some other great highlights overall as a team,” he said. “I think what we were looking for in this meet was to take a step forward as a team, and I think we did in a lot of areas.”

The hope for coaches and athletes alike was that Musco could be a positive transition into the championship season.

The Musco certainly had Iowa passing the eye test as a contender for a top-five finish at the conference meet. Unlike previous meets, there was not a feeling that the team had left anything on the track.

It was all on the field, the mark of strong team that is finally fulfilling the potential it so obviously has.

More than anything, this was personified by sophomore Kevin Spejcher, a high jumper who all season seemed to be on the verge of something special. One 2.20-meter jump and a victory later, he was suddenly a dark horse heading into the conference meet.

“I’ve been working so hard to get all the things down that I had to work on, and it all finally came together when I needed it,” Spejcher said. “Everyone’s showing what he can do, and as long as everyone stays healthy, we can show it at Big Tens.”

Health has long been an issue for this year’s team, and for as talented as the Hawkeyes are, injuries have been an issue that has not been easy to overcome.

This has been especially true in recent months with their top two triple-jumpers Babatunde Amosu and Klyvens Delaunay. In dominating fashion, the two finished first and second.

The only negatives that could be taken from the outing were the average finishes of the running events. Freshman Aaron Mallett won the 110-meter high hurdles, but outside of him, the highlights were few.

If the Hawkeyes are to contend for any serious position in the Big Ten, the running events will have to take one more step forward.

Despite the visions of glory that the other athletes and coaches seemed to have, head coach Layne Anderson was a bit more reserved, yet still casually optimistic about his young team.

“I think we need to take the progress that we have and move forward — it’s going to take max effort in two weeks,” he said. “We need everyone to be at his best for a chance to move into the upper division of teams.

“It’s been a goal all season, and we’re in a position to do it.”


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