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Buy or Sell: Big Ten Championships edition

BY KATRINA DO AND JORDAN HANSEN | MAY 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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Buy or Sell: Iowa will crown a champion at this weekend’s Big Ten meet.

Do: Buy. While the women’s team features a number of talented individual athletes — from hammer throwers to sprinters — the relay teams have proven to be its strongest asset.

Sophomore Lake Kwaza placed fourth in the 100 meters at last year’s Big Tens; teammate Brittany Brown claimed the 100- and 200-meter titles at the Musco Twilight Invitational on May 3.

Kwaza and Brown have run stride-for-stride throughout both the indoor and outdoor seasons, but together, they perform even better — which was proven at the Drake Relays, when they led the 4x100 relay team to victory.

Hansen: Buy. I have little doubt in my mind that junior Gabe Hull will be an individual champion by the end of the weekend. He won at the Mt. SAC and Drake Relays and is throwing the best he has in his career.

Other Hawkeyes to watch include the triple-jumper tandem of Klyvens Delaunay and Babatunde Amosu as well as freshman hurdler Aaron Mallett. All have performed well, and Amosu has an indoor championship under his belt this season.

Mark my words, Iowa will ride home with at least one individual champion.

Buy or Sell: The Hawks will improve on last season’s finishes — fifth for the men, 11th for the women.

Do: Buy. The Hawkeyes finished in last place in both the indoor and outdoor Big Ten championships last year.

The women’s squad improved on last year’s Big Ten indoor finish, and there’s no reason the same thing wouldn’t happen for the outdoor championship. The freshmen have also taken the spotlight this season, and their performances have contributed to the team’s overall development.

The 4x400-meter relay team won the title at the Big Tens in 2011, and it also held the school record — until the 2014 relay team beat that record earlier this season. The 4x400 relay team ranks second in the conference, but the 4x100 team leads the Big Ten with its historic win at the Drake Relays.

Hansen: Sell. Last season, the Hawkeyes had a very balanced team that was ranked for most of the season and should have placed even higher than fifth.

This year’s team is not nearly on the level that last year’s team was and is far less balanced to boot. While it certainly is not a poor team by any means, a finish somewhere between fifth and ninth is likely where it will end up.

With a young team such as the Hawkeyes, growing pains are going to be had and a mid-level finish this season is just part of that process.

Buy or Sell: The underclassmen will carry Iowa.

Do: Buy. The 2013 recruiting class is a new generation for the women’s track and field program, and it seems the freshmen highlighted every meet this season.

Consider the 4x100 relay team, which consists of three freshmen and one sophomore. The 4x400 relay team is made up of two freshmen and two sophomores.

However, the upperclassmen in the field events have also shown strong performances this season. Junior Annemie Smith and senior Ashlyn Gulvas rank third and fifth in the Big Ten. Gulvas placed fifth in the conference meet last year.

Hansen: Buy, to an extent. Iowa has relied all season on its underclassmen, especially in the sprints, to be the backbone of the team. Hawks such as freshman O’Shea Wilson, Mallett, and sophomore James Harrington have all provided big boosts to a team that only has seven seniors.

Young guys also populate the field events, such as sophomores Sam Joens and Kevin Spejcher who throw javelin and high jump, respectively.

While I’m not expecting every single one of these events to win, a strong showing by them — and really the whole team — is certainly in the cards.


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