Iowa's Indoor Track
©Jack Rossi-Hawkeye Sports.com

Next Level Iowa Podcast: Coach Joey Woody-Big Announcement in Iowa City!

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa ©Darren Miller

Coach Joey Woody-Iowa
©Darren Miller

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast, we can barely contain ourselves with all that is going on for our state.  We talk with the Director of Track and Field at the University of Iowa about the HUGE meet taking place this weekend at the Larry Wieczorek Invitational.  It is shaping up to feel like the Indoor Drake Relays!  Coach Woody talks about the huge meet and also about his Hawkeye track team.

Feature photo: Iowa’s Indoor Track©Jack Rossi-Hawkeye Sports.com

 

If that isn’t enough, Mike and I “try” and get to all of the great things our Iowans have done already in this early indoor track and field season!  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!

 

Mark Fairley-Dub Senior-Central

Mark Fairley: 2017 NEXTIE AWARD WINNER-Distance!

Mark Fairley-Dubuque-Central ©Dutch Athletics

Mark Fairley-Dubuque-Central
©Dutch Athletics

The 2017 NEXTIE AWARD WINNER in the Distance category is Mark Fairley-Dub. Senior-Central!

Mark Fairley finished 2nd in the Steeplechase at D-3 Nationals at Mt. Union in Alliance, Ohio for Central College.  The former Dubuque Senior prep was qualifier #19 to the national meet with a time of 9:12.07.  Fairley, the 2017 Iowa Conference champion ran a lifetime best of 9:06.33 to win the silver medal. And that is why Mark is a 2017 NEXTIE AWARD WINNER!

Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado
©Mike Byrnes

USATF Championships Back to Drake 2018

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St ©Erik Aguilar www.painani.org

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-Arizona St
©Erik Aguilar www.painani.org

The USATF Outdoor Championships are returning to Des Moines June 21-24, 2018. The best track and field athletes in the country will compete this summer at Drake University’s Drake Stadium in what will be the final stop of the 2018 USATF Championship Series. The meet will be broadcast on the NBC family of networks and webcast on NBC Sports Gold.

Courtesy USATF, click here! Feature photo: Jenny Simpson-Webster City-Colorado©Mike Byrnes

Drake Stadium has previously hosted the USATF Outdoor Championships twice, in 2010 and 2013, with two American records falling at each championship. In 2013, 2016 Olympic gold medalist Brianna Rollins provided a glimpse of what was to come by setting the American Record in the women’s 100m hurdles (12.26), and Amanda Bingson broke the AR in the women’s hammer throw (75.73m/248-5.25). In 2010, 2008 Olympic bronze medalist Chaunte Lowe broke the high jump AR (2.05 m/6’8.75) and Kara Winger set the AR in the women’s javelin (66.67 m/218-8​.75).

 

Drake has hosted the NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships in 1970 (men only), 2008, 2011, and 2012, and annually hosts the Drake Relays, which in 2018 will celebrate its 109th year.

 

More information will be available in coming weeks at www.usatf.org, including ticket prices, broadcast details, and competition schedules.

 

About USATF

USA Track & Field (USATF) is the National Governing Body for track and field, long-distance running and race walking in the United States. USATF encompasses the world’s oldest organized sports, some of the most-watched events of Olympic broadcasts, the country’s No. 1 high school and junior high school participatory sport and more than 30 million adult runners in the United States. For more information on USATF, visit www.usatf.org.

Drake state Meet

Next Level Iowa Podcast For January 9, 2018: Blake Boldon

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays ©Jin kirby

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jin kirby

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast, Director of the Drake Relays Blake Boldon gets us even more excited for the Drake Relays!  Blake talks about the changes to the Drake Relays Road Races and other exciting announcements for this years Relays!

Mike and I also get revved up for the coming week’s indoor track meets and we preview our 2017 NEXTIE AWARDS for 2017!  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Casey Blake-Indianola

Next Level Podcast For January 2, 2018: Casey Blake

Casey Blake-Indianola ©Indianola Athletics

Casey Blake-Indianola
©Indianola Athletics

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we welcome Indianola High School graduate, All-Star 3rd Basemen, most notably from the Cleveland Indians and Los Angeles Dodgers, Casey Blake.  We talk with Casey about his state championship DMR race of 1990, and we talk baseball, sports and a whole lot more.

We also look ahead to the high school and collegiate indoor track seasons.  All this and more on the Next LevelIowa Podcast!

Feature photo: Casey Blake Los Angeles Dodgers ©LA Times 
Next Level Iowa Preps

Fitness Sports’ Next Level Iowa Preps Podcast For December 28, 2017

Fitness Sports 8800 Swanson Blvd Clive, IA www.fitnesssports.com

Fitness Sports Website, click here!

Welcome to our first edition of Fitness Sports’ Next Level Iowa Preps where we will be talking about running gear, shoes and a whole lot more with The Shoe Man himself, Steve Bobenhouse.

As the high school track season unfolds, Mike Jay and I will keep up to speed on all the news from our Iowa preps as their track season unfolds. So join us right here, every week at Fitness Sports’ Next Level Iowa Preps!

 

Mary Young-Urbandale-Drake 
©Jim Kirby 2017

Next Level Iowa Podcast For December 28, 2017: Mary Young Show #550

Mary Young-Urbandale-Drake ©Doug Wells

Mary Young-Urbandale-Drake
©Doug Wells

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk with Urbandale State Champion and Missouri Valley Champion Drake Bulldog, Mary Young.  Mary talks about her outdoor 100m hurdles championship and how that is invigorating her for her indoor and outdoor senior year.

Mike and I also close out 2017 by highlighting some of our favorite interviews and talk about the possible 2017 “Nextie Award” winners.  All this and more on the Next Level Iowa Podcast.

 

From left, driver/pilot Nicole Voft, rookie Lake Kwaza, rookie Nicole Brungardt and driver/pilot Kristi Koplin. 
© USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation

Lake Kwaza Chasing Olympic Dream by Mike Jay

Lake Kwaza-Iowa ©Darren Miller

Lake Kwaza-Iowa
©Darren Miller

What do you do if you are a school record holder, Big 10 champion and an All-American in track and field, still have that urge to compete after graduating from college but are uncertain about switching sports? Well, if you are 2016 University of Iowa graduate Lake Kwaza, you turn down an offer from one of the U.S. Bobsled coaches, and when he calls you back a year later you answer him with a resounding, ‘Yes!’

Courtesy Little Village Magazine, click here!   Feature photo: From left, driver/pilot Nicole Voft, rookie Lake Kwaza, rookie Nicole Brungardt and driver/pilot Kristi Koplin  © USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation

Right after the 2016 track and field Olympic trials, Kwaza said she received an email from Michael Dionne, one of the coaches with USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation.

“The email was an introduction of himself and a very brief description of bobsled. I emailed him back and the next thing you know I am on the phone getting the full scoop about what bobsled is and how I had the accolades to become a bobsled athlete,” she said. “I was very intrigued about the sport but I wasn’t ready to give up track and the other commitments that I made going into the 2017 school year, so I kindly declined the offer and told Coach Dionne to keep my contact information and maybe I’ll be more willing to try it the next year.”

One year later she received a call.

“I was very excited that he remembered after a year and contacted me. I thought if a coach or anyone can remember something like this a year later then I should give them a chance and see what they are talking about,” Kwaza said.

The 2016 Big 10 60-meter dash champion, and school record holder in both the 60 and as a member of the 400-meter relay, is doing her strength and conditioning training in Iowa City, with her Hawkeye coaches, but does bobsled training in Lake Placid, New York.

“Bobsled is a speed and power sport and so is sprinting,” Kwaza said. “Luckily, I was just that, a sprinter, which meant my training changed very little.”

She said she was lucky that her college coaches — sprints coach Clive Roberts and strength and conditioning coach and nutritionist Landon Evans — continued working with her.

“[They] were both excited and eager to continue to work with me as a post colligate,” she said. “Neither of them have a background in bobsled, but both did their own research about the sport and have been able to create a program that fits me as a bobsled athlete.”

She spend about three to four months in New York, where she can stay at the Olympic training center in Lake Placid and has access to the bobsled track on Mt. Van Hoevenberg. The rest of the time, the Sycamore, Illinois native is here in Iowa City training.

The 2018 Olympic Winter Games will be held for 17 days, Feb. 9-25, in PyeongChang, in Gangwon Province, South Korea. It’s the first time the Olympic games will be held in Korea since the Seoul Olympic Games in 1988, nearly 30 years ago. PyeongChang will be the stage for the opening and closing ceremonies and most snow sports. Alpine speed events will take place in Jeongseon, and all ice sports will be in the coastal city of Gangneung.

There are nine women currently on the U.S. National Team, three drivers/pilots and six brakemen/push athletes; they are currently competing on the World Cup circuit. Developing athletes, like Kwaza, are competing in the North American Cup and are also vying for the four to six spots on the U.S. team that will compete in South Korea, Feb. 20 and 21.

The maximum number of athletes who can qualify for the Olympics, in the bobsled, is six women and 18 men. The women have only two-man sleds whereas the men have two-man and four-man sleds, meaning more men can qualify. Each nation has the chance to qualify two women’s sleds and a few may qualify three. That will determine if a country takes four or six women. The qualifications are dependent on the world rankings in January, just one month before the Olympics begin.

Once it has been decided, by the rankings, if the U.S. will take two or three women’s teams, the final teams will be decided by the coaches, the USA Bobsled and Skeleton Federation committee and the pilots.

So far, Kwaza has been able to race in Calgary, Canada, where she and Kristi Koplin placed second and she and Nicole Vogt finished fourth. She has also spent time in Park City, Utah, attending driving school.

Her next race will be in January, in Lake Placid.

Kwaza has set up a Go Fund Me page, because U.S. bobsledding is self-funded unless athletes are on the U.S. national team or have sponsors. Kwaza pays for her own travel, meals and anything else that comes along. Follow her journey on Instagram and Facebook @lakekwaza.

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

Next Level Iowa Podcast For December 19,2017: Blake Boldon

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays ©Jin kirby

Blake Boldon-Director of the Drake Relays
©Jin kirby

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk with Drake Relays Director Blake Boldon who is preparing for the Relays.  We talk about all the things that make the Relays the best in the country and also the exciting possibilities for this coming year.  All this and more on this week’s Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Runners and the New York Road Runners (from left): NYRR’s Mary Wittenberg, Peter Gilmore, Hendrick Ramaala, NYRR’s Sam Grotewold, NYRR’s David Monti, Viktor Rothlin, Abdi Abdirahman, Nina Rillstone and Alan Culpepper
@sportsbusinessdailey.com

Next Level Iowa Podcast For December 13, 2017: Sam Grotewold Senior Manager For the NYRR

Sam Grotewold-Senior Manager of Professional Athletes at the New York Road Runners

Sam Grotewold-Senior Manager of Professional Athletes at the New York Road Runners

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk with Sam Grotewold, the Senior Manager of Professional Athletes for the New York Road Runners.  Sam is a leader in the sport at many levels, including is work with the NYRR at Races such as The New York Marathon and the 2016 Olympic Trials.  Sam is a regular contributor to Flotrack and Let’s Run websites as he is responsible for the handling of elite athletes such as Iowa’s own Jenny Simpson. Sam was born in Ames, Iowa and ran at Simpson College.

Feature photo: Runners and the New York Road Runners (from left): NYRR’s Mary Wittenberg, Peter Gilmore, Hendrick Ramaala, NYRR’s Sam Grotewold, NYRR’s David Monti, Viktor Rothlin, Abdi Abdirahman, Nina Rillstone and Alan Culpepper@sportsbusinessdailey.com

We also talk about the early indoor meets involving our Iowans as well as covering the results of the USATF Club Nationals held last week.  All this and more on this week’s Next Level Iowa Podcast!