Jordan Coughenour-Collins Maxwell-Simpson
©Jim Kirby 2017

Simpson Men Strong #5 in Central Region

Isaac Frazier-Marion-Simpson ©Jim Kirby 2017

Isaac Frazier-Marion-Simpson
©Jim Kirby 2017

The Simpson men’s track and field team held steady at No. 5 in the Central Region, according to the latest National Team Computer Rankings released Tuesday by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA).

Courtesy Storm Athletics, Click Here!

The Storm made the move from sixth to fifth last week and held their ground for the week four rankings. The most notable move came in the national rankings, however, where Simpson catapulted from 91st overall to 34th in just one week.

USTFCCCA Regional Rankings, Week 4

Simpson currently boasts five events ranked in the top 30 in Division III and two in the top 10:

• 4th — Emmitt Wheatley, 200 meters (22.02)
• 9th — Dylan Kalinay, 60 hurdles (8.20)
• 17th — Emmitt Wheatley, 60 meters (6.94)
• 25th — Isaac Frazier, heptathlon (4418)
• 27th — Chase Wetterling / Kirk Wicks / Travis Tupper / Jordan Coughenour, 4×400 relay (3:24.20)

Wheatley leads the Iowa Conference in the 60 and the 200 and Kalinay leads in the 60 hurdles. One team not in the top 30 in the nation — the 4×200 relay team of Wetterling, Wicks, Tate Tufte and Keagan Zwiefel — also leads the conference.

Points in the USTFCCCA National Team Computer Rankings are based on the NCAA Division III Descending Order Lists. The higher an athlete is ranked on the list, the more points he or she provides his or her team. From there, a team’s points are totaled and more points mean a better billing in the top-25.

USTFCCCA CENTRAL REGION RANKINGS
1. St. Thomas, 362.37
2. Wartburg, 245.95
3. Dubuque, 242.42
4. Nebraska Wesleyan, 234.23
5. Simpson, 183.44
6. St. Olaf, 182.49
7. Central, 179.61
8. Bethel, 126.53
9. Coe, 122.73
10. Concordia Moorhead, 105.38

For the second week in a row, Simpson sprinter Emmitt Wheatley is the Iowa Conference Track Performer of the Week, as announced by the league office on Monday.

IIAC Performers of the Week

A sophomore from Adair, Iowa, Wheatley won the award for the period ending Sunday, Feb. 12 after being named Athlete of the Meet at Grinnell’s Darren Young Invitational on Saturday, Feb. 11. Wheatley won the 60 and 200 meters, posting the No. 17 time in the nation in the 60 and the No. 4 time in the 200.

Wheatley broke the tape in 6.94 seconds in the 60, a personal best and the No. 2 time in school history. He crossed the finish line in the 200 in 22.02 seconds, breaking his own school record in the process.

Wheatley’s effort in the 60 is the fastest by a Storm runner in 22 years. He also helped the 4×400 relay team to a third-place effort.

The conference leader in the 60 and the 200 brings home his third IIAC weekly honor. Storm runners have now won four of six IIAC Track Performer of the Week honors in 2016-17. Junior hurdler Dylan Kalinay has the other two.

Simpson travels to Pella, Iowa to face Central in a dual meet Friday, Feb. 17.

Emmanuel Ogwo-Iowa
©Jim Kirby 2017

Hawks Send Split Squads to Meets This Weekend

Carter Lilly-SC East-Iowa ©Jim Kirby 2017

Carter Lilly-SC East-Iowa
©Jim Kirby 2017

THIS WEEK
The University of Iowa track and field team splits up for the first time this season. The Hawkeyes travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational and Ames, Iowa, to compete in the Iowa State Classic. Both meets run Feb. 10-11.

FOLLOW ALONG
Live results will be available through the team’s schedule page on hawkeyesports.com.

LILLY’S LEAGUE OF HIS OWN
At the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 4, junior Carter Lilly set a school record in the 800-meters. Lilly’s time of 1:47.33 surpassed former Hawkeye and world champion Erik Sowinski by .29 seconds. The Sioux City, Iowa, native ranks third in the Big Ten, sixth in the nation, and 12th in the world.

Senior Aaron Mallett, 1st in 60-meter hurdles (7.75)IN THE NATIONAL RANKINGS
According to the USTFCCCA’s National Team rankings released on Feb. 6, the Hawkeye men rank 31st in the nation and fifth in the Big Ten.

THE BIG TEN’S 4X400M LEADER
The 4×400-meter relay team of freshman Emmanuel Ogwo, senior Aaron Mallett, sophomore Dejuan Frye, and sophomore Mar’yea Harris reign atop the Big Ten leaderboard after their performance at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 4. The group recorded a time of 3:07.08 to rank third in Iowa history, first in the Big Ten, and eighth in the country.

FRESHMEN THROWERS ENTER IOWA’S TOP-10
Two freshmen throwers entered Iowa’s top 10 at the Meyo Invitational over the weekend. Laulauga Tausaga (48-5 1/4, 14.76m) and Erika Hammond (47-9 1/4, 14.56m) both recorded personal best throws in the shot put and rank fifth and seventh all-time, respectively.

SHINE SETS MASSIVE PERSONAL BEST 
Sophomore Andrea Shine recorded a new personal best on her way to an 11th-place finish in the 5,000-meters at the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 3. Shine shaved off over a minute from her previous time, clocking in at 16:49.23, which ranks seventh in the Big Ten. Her previous best of 18:08.18 was set at the Illinois State Invitational on Sept. 9.

FRESHMEN SHOW PROMISE
Through the first five meets of the season, six Hawkeye freshmen lead the team in their respective events: Tysen VanDraska (1,000-meters), Akinshe Calica-Hill (triple jump), Amber Decker (800-meters), Aubrianna Lantrip (high jump), Laulauga Tausaga (shot put), and Jenny Kimbro (pentathlon). In addition, six freshmen have entered Iowa’s all-time list on nine different events — Kimbro (pentathlon/3rd, 60H/7th, long jump/6th), Warhman (pentathlon/8th, triple jump/7th), Lantrip (high jump/10th), Schilb (triple jump/9th), Hammond (shot put/7th), and Tausaga (shot put/5th).

BIG TEN LEADERS
Iowa has 9 events that rank in the top three in the Big Ten:

IN LINE FOR NCAAS
If the regular season ended this week, the following Hawkeyes would qualify for the NCAA Championships in College Station, Texas, by ranking in the top 16 nationally — Carter Lilly (800m), Aaron Mallett (60H), Mallett, Emmanuel Ogwo, DeJuan Frye, Mar’yea Harris (4x400m Relay), O’Shea Wilson (Long Jump), Avery Meyers (Shot Put).

JANUARY BY THE NUMBERS
During Iowa’s four-meet home stand, the team spent 50 hours competing, set three facility records, 101 personal bests, captured 38 event titles, and ran almost 100,000 meters on their new track.

NEXT ON THE BLOCK
The Hawkeyes host their final home competition of the indoor season on Feb. 18, while a small group of athletes will travel to the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The Iowa Open’s first event is tentatively scheduled for 11 a.m. (CT).

Jasmine Staebler-Clayton Ridge-ISU
©Jim Kirby 2017

Cyclones’ Staebler Posts Big Win at Penn St.

 Jhoanmy Luque-ISU ©Jim Kirby 2017

Jhoanmy Luque-ISU
©Jim Kirby 2017

The Iowa State women saw two of their best put up performances that put them high among the national rankings in Saturday’s track and field action. Jasmine Staebler‘s win in the 800-meter run at the PSU National Open and Jhoanmy Luque‘s win in the triple jump at the Black and Gold Premier both also saw personal bests, second-best marks in ISU history and top marks in the Big 12 and NCAA levels.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletics, Click Here! Feature photo: Jasmine Staebler-Clayton Ridge-ISU ©Jim Kirby 2017

The Cyclone men also brought home a victory as Zach Black won the men’s 1,000-meter run at the PSU National Open.

PSU National Open
Staebler delivered again in her marquee event. The sophomore was dominant and sprinted home to victory in an outstanding time of 2:04.81. The time moved her into second in ISU history in the event, and at the time of publication sees her ranked second in the Big 12 and sixth in the NCAA in the event.

It took a big move by Black, a freshman from Sallisaw, Oklahoma. A strategic 1,000-meter run came down to the final meters, with the field tightly packed heading to the final turn. Black was in fourth, and elected to take the outside lane allowing him to pass Army’s Trevor Touchton, Georgetown’s Jack Salisbury and Black’s own teammate Christian DeLago to get the win in 2:25.02. DeLago came home in third at 2:25.17.

In the women’s mile, Evelyne Guay took third in 4:43.54. The effort moved the Canadian into eighth on Iowa State’s all-time top-10 for the event.

Black and Gold Premier
Jhoanmy Luque‘s biggest competition was herself in the Black and Gold Premier triple jump competition, as all six of her jumps were the six-best in the field. After her first three jumps, she was ahead with an indoor personal best of 42-5 1/4. Then she turned it up, tying her outdoor PR of 43-10 1/2 on her fourth jump and then posting her winning 44-6 1/4 on her fifth jump. At the time of publication, the jump puts her second in Division I in the women’s triple jump this season.

In the men’s 400-meter dash premier, Jaymes Dennison was in a battle with Iowa’s Mar’yea Harris. Dennison’s outside lane assignment meant he had the challenge of the longest journey to the bottom of the track. Harris got to the bottom quicker, allowing him to maintain the inside line throughout. Dennison made a move to the outside down the stretch, but Harris was able to hang on while Dennison took second in the heat, third overall, in 47.87.

Up Next
Iowa State will be at Nebraska next weekend for the Husker Invitational. Action in Lincoln will take place next Friday and Saturdaay.

Iowa State Results
PSU National Open
800m Run Inv. (W): 1. Jasmine Staebler, Iowa State – 2:04.81
1,000m Run Inv. (M): 1. Zach Black, Iowa State – 2:25.02; 3. Christian DeLago, Iowa State – 2:25.17
Mile Run Inv. (W): 1. Danae Rivers, Penn State – 4:34.87; 3. Evelyne Guay, Iowa State – 4:43.54
Mile Run Inv. (M): 1. Jack Keelan, Stanford – 3:59.62; 7. Dan Curts, Iowa State – 4:10.37

Black and Gold Premier
400m Dash Premier (M): 1. Mar’yea Harris, Iowa – 47.47; 3. Jaymes Dennison, Iowa State – 47.87
Triple Jump (W): 1. Jhoanmy Luque, Iowa State – 44-6 1/4

Zach Frey-Cascade-Loras
©Jim Kirby

Loras’ Frey Earns Scholar Athlete of the Year Award

Zach Frey-Cascade-Loras ©Jim Kirby

Zach Frey-Cascade-Loras
©Jim Kirby

Former Loras track and field standout Zach Frey has been named the Duane Schroeder Iowa Conference (IIAC) Scholar-Athlete of the Year, the league office announced on Wednesday, and the first in Loras College’s history.

Courtesy Duhawks Athletics, Click Here!

The IIAC Scholar Athlete of the Year Awards were first presented in December 2001 for the 2000-01 academic year. To be eligible for nomination, a student-athlete shall have graduated or exhausted their athletic eligibility during the academic year for which the award is given. He must have demonstrated a high level of accomplishment and achievement in a varsity sport, have a cumulative grade point average of at least 3.5 (on a 4.0 scale), and show evidence of scholarly achievements, community service involvement and leadership.

“The hard description is to try to communicate the nuance and depth Zach brought to the classroom, the scholarly curiosity he brought to office hours, and the motivating effect he had on those around him to, as we say here at Loras, ‘be more’, professor Luke Lammer said.”

Frey graduated in May of 2016 with summa cum laude honors after earning a 3.98 GPA with bachelor’s of science degrees in accounting and finance. At the 2016 NCAA Division III Indoor Track & Field Championships, Frey was selected as the Elite 90 winner, becoming the first in Loras’ history. He was a three-time IIAC All-Academic team selection, was named  the Loras Accounting Student of the Year, and was featured on the Dean’s List during all eight semesters before graduating with Provost Top-20 honors.

“Zach was truly a unique and special student-athlete at Loras College,” Director of Athletics Denise Udelhofen said. “His ability to connect with other students in the manner in which he did speaks to his character. We were extremely fortunate to benefit from his time as a Duhawk.”

On the competition field, Frey was a three-time NCAA All-American, including twice in the 800 meters and once in the 4×400-meter relay. A five-time NCAA qualifier, Frey owns eight Iowa Conference Championship titles and four Iowa Conference Championship meet records. At Loras, he owns the school record for the indoor 800 meters and outdoor 4×800-meter relay. In his final collegiate race, Frey finished fourth at the 2016 NCAA Division III Outdoor Track & Field Championships in the 800 meters.

“Simply put, Zach was an amazing student-athlete for the Loras community,” Loras Head Track & Field Coach Matt Jones said. “He comes from an amazing family that always supported him and that could be seen with the way he carried himself every day. Zach was always one to keep the mood light for everyone on the team with his quirky personality and desire to succeed, both on and off the track.”

A graduate of Cascade High School, Frey did many things to better the community around him, including serving as a volunteer for Habitat for Humanity and the Boys & Girls Club, where he organized a Halloween night for children, providing costumes and refreshments along with themed contests and activities.

Frey’s leadership extends deep in the hallmarks of Loras, where he served as a supplemental instruction leader for five semesters, tutoring students in large groups on topics including economics, finance and accounting, in addition to coordinating with professors to ensure that students understood the course material and were prepared for exams.

His service also extended to the Lynch Disability Center at Loras, where Frey was a one-on-one tutor for students with learning disabilities.

“Zach exceeded in all aspects as a student-athlete,” Jones said. “He not only found time to dedicate to his sport, but was an elite student in the classroom and always found time to give back to his teammates, classmates and the campus community. Students, faculty and staff alike spoke highly of Zach because of the individual that he was and how he carried himself while at Loras.”

On campus, Frey was very well-respected among his peers. He served as master of ceremonies for numerous events, including homecoming and the annual Dewey Awards in 2016, where he brought a flare of comedy and personalization to the end-of-the-year awards show that included skits, homemade video clips, shoutouts and light-hearted jokes for the benefit of fellow student-athletes and coaches throughout the show.

Currently, Frey works as an accountant at KPMG in Minneapolis, Minn.

HEAD COACH QUOTE
“Simply put, Zach was an amazing student-athlete for the Loras community,” Loras Head Track & Field Coach Matt Jones said. “He comes from an amazing family that always supported him and that could be seen with the way he carried himself every day. Zach was always one to keep the mood light for everyone on the team with his quirky attitude and desire to succeed, both on and off the track.”

“Zach exceeded in all aspects as a student-athlete,” Jones said. “He not only found time to dedicate to his sport, but was an elite student in the classroom and always found time to give back to his teammates, classmates and the campus community. Students, faculty and staff alike spoke highly of Zach because of the individual that he was and how he carried himself while at Loras.”

“He made my job easy,” Jones added. “I never had to worry about his work ethic whether it was in track or in the classroom.”

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Mike Byrnes

“The Nexties!” Next Level Iowa’s 2016 Bests! Our Pros!

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

© Michael Scott 2016, www.miscottrunningphoto.shutterfly.com

With the 2016 Nexties complete and posted, it is time to take a look at some of the Iowa Track and Field professionals.  These athletes need to have been born in Iowa or are graduates of an Iowa high school.  I know we had many Iowa college grads who did big things in 2016 but those stats will need to wait for another day.

Feature Photo:Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado ©Mike Byrnes

In NO particular order:

Lindsay Lettow, DM Christian HS graduate-USATF Indoor Championships: 6th, Pentathlon.  US Olympic Trials: 10th, Heptathlon.  Thorpe Cup, USA vs Germany, Heptathlon-2nd individually, 1st team.

Shelby Houlihan, SC East HS graduate-USATF Indoor Championships: 5th, 3K.  US Olympic Trials: 2nd, 5K.  Olympic Games: 11th, 5K.

AG Kruger, Sheldon HS graduate-USATF Indoor Championships: 2nd, Weight Throw.  US Olympic Trials: 4th, Hammer Throw.

Jenny Simpson, born in Webster City, also lived in Ames-Drake Relays: 1st 1500M.  US Olympic Trials: 1st, 1500M.  Olympic Games: 3rd, 1500M.

Alex Gochenour, Logan Magnolia HS graduate– US Olympic Trials: 13th, Heptathlon.  Thorpe Cup, USA vs Germany, Heptathlon- 4th individually, 1st team.

Alexina Wilson, Lisbon HS graduate– Drake Relays: 1st, Steeplechase.  US Olympic Trials: 18th Steeplechase.

Chase Madison, Newton HS graduate- Drake Relays: 3rd, Discus.  US Olympic Trials: 22nd, Discus.

Biya Simbassa, SC North graduate- US Olympic Trials: 18th, 5K.

Kurtis Brondyke, Clinton HS graduate– Texas Greatest Athlete: 1st, Decathlon.  US Olympic Trials: 11th, Decathlon.  Thorpe Cup, USA vs Germany, Decathlon- 4th individually, 1st team.

Who did we MISS?  Let us know.  Remember ONLY born in Iowa and/or Iowa HS grads on this list.

Track and Field events only.

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Next Level Iowa Podcast for October 25, 2016: Blake Boldon New Drake Relays Director

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays ©Jin kirby

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jin kirby

On this week’s edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk with new Drake Relays’ Director Blake Boldon.  We also look ahead to all the conference meets that are coming up this weekend.  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!

 

 

 

Iowa Hawkeye's Indoor Track
©Darren Miller

World Championship Track for the Hawkeyes

Iowa Hawkeye's Indoor Track ©Darren Miller

Iowa Hawkeye’s Indoor Track
©Darren Miller Click Here for a live camera view of the track installation!

If it’s good enough for the World Championships, it’s good enough for the University of Iowa. That was the thought going through Joey Woody’s mind in 2014.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics.

Then an assistant coach with the University of Iowa track and field team, Woody made a casual inquiry to representatives from Beynon — the industry leader in sports surfacing — about facility renovations to the UI Rec Building.

Beynon, it turns out, had what Woody was looking for. The 2016 Track and Field Indoor World Championships were scheduled for Portland, Oregon, and Beynon was tasked with building an indoor track for the event. What Beynon didn’t know was what would become of the surface after the event.

“They told me they were building it for the Indoor World Championships, and afterwards they would have to sell it,” Woody said.

They didn’t have a buyer, and that bit of news grabbed Woody’s attention. A few months later, when Woody was promoted to UI director of track and field, he revisited the topic.

“We live in Iowa, so I know how important it is to have a quality indoor track,” Woody said.

Fortunately, his administration agreed, and after approval from the Board of Regents, a purchase ordered secured a World Championship track.

“It’s a game changer,” Woody said. “Our facility is nice, but this track is going to take us from the middle of the pack in the Big Ten, to one of the best in the world.”

The University of Iowa took over complete operation of the UI Rec Building in July. Installation began Oct. 17, and by the end of fall, more than 2,000 tons of steel will be turned into a six-lane, 200-meter banked track unlike any other in the United States.

“The entire infield is raised,” Woody said. “It’s all on a stage and set up for big-time performances.”

That’s not just lip service either. For the first time in school history, University of Iowa track and field is attracting programs from coast-to-coast. The Hawkeyes host Florida State on Jan. 20-21, Notre Dame is visiting Jan. 27-28, and names like Texas, USC, and Washington have eyed putting Iowa City on their calendar.

“We have given schools a reason to come to Iowa City,” Woody said. “We are attracting great teams, which makes for an entertaining product. Our fans will love it. The elevated track gives it an arena feel that produces a lot of energy. It’s exciting; we’re going to be rolling.”

The indoor schedule includes five home meets, starting Jan. 7 with the annual border battle with Illinois and Missouri. The Hawkeye Challenge is Jan. 14, and the Hawkeye Invitational is Jan. 20-21. The Big Ten Challenge is Jan. 27-28, and the Silver Hawk Invitational is Feb. 17.

Barring any setbacks, the Hawkeyes will unveil their new track Dec. 3 at the Black and Gold Intrasquad meet.

Sarah Steffensmeier-Ft Maddison-Neb. Omaha
©Jim Kirby

Iowans Set PR’s for the Nebraska Omaha Mavericks

Alyssa Averhoff-CR Kennedy-Neb. Omaha ©Jim Kirby

Alyssa Averhoff-CR Kennedy-Neb. Omaha
©Jim Kirby

Renata Valquier-Chavez led the Omaha cross country team for the second straight meet, posting a 6K personal best at the NCAA Regional Preview at Iowa.

Valquier-Chavez ran the course in a time of 22:28.6, 66 seconds faster than her previous season best. She finished 28th overall in the field of 73 runners.

“After three tough weeks of racing, I’m proud of how we showed up and just let loose,” said assistant coach Cliff Cisar. “For the first time, all Maverick runners in the race were under 25 minutes. That proves a lot about the hard work that was put in within the last three weeks and the grit it takes to show up and compete at a high level with less than fresh legs.”

Willa Koenig was second for UNO and just behind Valquier-Chavez in 29th with a time of 22:28.8, 25 seconds faster than her previous season best at Nebraska.

Kayla Sabotin ran third for the Mavericks and finished 32nd with a time of 22:46.5 while breaking her previous season best by 49 seconds. Alyssa Averhoff was 10 spots back in 42nd place with a time of 23:17.9. While scoring 38 points, Averhoff also broke her season best by 51 seconds.

Finishing up the scoring for Omaha and running 43 seconds faster than previous season best, Sarah Steffensmeier finished 53rd overall with a time of 23:40.6.

As a team, the Mavericks were seventh among the seven teams with a score of 167. Illinois won with a score of 50, just ahead of South Dakota with 58 and Iowa with 66.

Omaha has next weekend off and returns to action Saturday, Oct. 22 at the Mount Marty Invite in Yankton, S.D.

Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton
©Jim Kirby

Miller Plows Her Way Into the Creighton Record Books

Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton ©Jim Kirby

Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton
©Jim Kirby

Strong showings from Emily Martin and Eric Klein paced the Creighton women’s and men’s cross country teams on Saturday morning at the Commodore Classic in Nashville, Tenn.

Courtesy Jayhawk Athletics, Click Here!

Martin finished the 5K Percy Warner Park course in a time of 18:06.9, making her the 12th fastest runner in school history at that distance. She took 52nd of 261 runners to help the Creighton women to a 14th place finish among 25 teams. CU’s score of 369 fell behind meet winner Eastern Michigan (68), which edged Ohio State (87) and host Vanderbilt (124) for event crown.

Vanessa Miller placed 58th, clocking in just behind Martin with a time of 18:10.7. Miller moved from 15th to 13th place in the school record books with the finish.

Megan Paule took 66th with a time of 18:15.2, while Adriana Kammerer (96th, 18:39.9) and Grace Mimmack (124th, 18:54.3) rounded out CU’s scoring contributors. Kammerer’s time was also a personal best in a 5K race as a Bluejay.

The men took 16th in a field of 23 teams, but did beat host Vanderbilt, while finishing with a score of 415. Middle Tennessee topped the field with a score of 63 to edge out Georgia (81), Ohio State (106), Butler (116) and Missouri (150) for the team title.

Eric Klein paced the CU men with a 57th-place finish, clocking a time of 26:01.0. Patrick Reinschmidt was CU’s second-best finisher with a time of 26:20.7 on the 8K course, taking 86th. Nine seconds behind him with a 26:29.3 time was Jacob Ohnstad, who placed 95th. Ty Medd (107th, 26:39.3), Spencer De Jong (116th, 26:42.6), Chase Howard (117th, 26:43.5) and Nicholas Monkemeyer (120th, 26:46.6) rounded out CU’s lead pack.

The Creighton men return to the course next Saturday when it heads to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. The Bluejay women are off until the Chile Pepper Festival in Fayetteville, Ark., on Oct. 1.

Hannah Thomas-Dowling-Missouri, Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton, Grace Gibbons-Dowling/Gilbert-ISU, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley
©Jim Kirby

Luksan Starts Out Season With Another Great Effort

Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley ©Jim Kirby

Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley
©Jim Kirby

The Bradley University cross country teams swept the 30th running of the Bradley Intercollegiate on Friday at Detweiller Park. In addition, junior Hannah Witczak won the women’s individual title – leading a pack of five Braves at the top of the leaderboard – while junior Michael Ward claimed the men’s crown.

Courtesy Braves Athletics, Click Here! Feature photo; former Dowling runners, Hannah Thomas-Dowling-Missouri, Vanessa Miller-Dowling-Creighton, Grace Gibbons-Dowling/Gilbert-ISU, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou, Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley taken at Iowa Invite
©Jim Kirby

Witczak finished with a time of 16:48.7 to place first in the women’s three-mile race, shaving nearly a minute off her career-best time to claim her first collegiate title. Witczak finished 12 seconds ahead of senior teammate Lauren Cunningham, who posted a time of 17:00.8.

“Hannah Witczak put in a big performance for us today,” said Bradley head coach Darren Gausen. “To record a perfect score after losing so many key contributors last year is outstanding. It shows how good our depth is and that we are ready to compete at Notre Dame.”

Junior Natalie Burant (17:30.5), sophomore Gabby Juarez (17:30.8) and redshirt freshman Bailey Johnson (17:32.1) rounded out the top five for the Braves as Bradley finished with a perfect score of 15 on the afternoon.  Also performing well for the Braves was Jenny Luksan-Dowling-Bradley.

On the men’s side, Ward picked up where he left off last season, finishing first with a time of 24:30.3. The junior finished more than 17 seconds ahead of second-place Kyle Hauser of Illinois-Chicago to earn his first individual title in cross country.

“Michael Ward put together a fantastic performance for him,” Gausen said. “He was controlled and really excelled after putting in a ton of work during the summer. Illinois-Chicago’s Kyle Hauser put together a strong race and it was good to have a challenge up front. It prevented us from having a perfect score but I thought Patrick Campbell, Caleb Beck and Taylor Floyd Mews were all strong as well today. In addition, Jake Hoffert and Will Anderson had really good performances as well.”

Overall, Bradley claimed six of the top seven finishers to earn the team title on Friday with 19 points. Senior Patrick Campbell placed third with a time of 24:48.0 and was followed by classmate Caleb Beck (24:50.8), junior Taylor Floyd Mews (24:59.6), redshirt freshman Jake Hoffert (25:12.4) and sophomore Will Anderson (25:25.6).

Illinois-Chicago placed second on the women’s side with a score of 67 and was followed by Western Illinois and Arkansas State. The Flames also finished second in the men’s race with 45 total points with Arkansas State and Green Bay placing third and fourth, respectively.

The Braves look to continue their winning ways on Sept. 30, traveling to South Bend, Indiana to compete in the Notre Dame Invitational.