Record breaking senior is leaving his mark on UI

ZACH SMITH

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A typical NCAA field-athlete possesses a combination of strength, balance, and quickness. Iowa senior John Hickey certainly has all three of those essentials.

But the Piermont, N.Y., native would be better described as explosive rather than quick.

He followed up in the outdoor season by claiming all-region honors with a second-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet in Lincoln, Neb., and a berth at the NCAA championships in Des Moines.

But rarely can a competitor’s thirst for victory be quenched.

With a cupboard full of hardware by the summer of 2008, it would’ve been easy for Hickey to relax and marvel at what he accomplished.

Having only one season left as a Hawkeye, he still had a handful of things to check off his to-do list.

“This was the first meet of the year where I’ve had really good competition — five of the top 10 guys in the nation were there,” Hickey said. “Having that atmosphere really brought the best out in me.

The monumental toss earned him Big Ten Male Field Athlete of the Week and ranks as the best throw to date in the Big Ten (fourth, nationally).

Now a part of Hawkeye track and field lore, Hickey can focus on the rapidly approaching indoor Big Ten championships and defending his crown as king of the shot put.

Men’s head track and field coach Larry Wieczorek praised Hickey for setting himself apart from Hawkeye throwers of the past. Hickey’s consistently impressive performances have made him into an interchangeable part of what Wieczorek refers to as “a well-rounded track and field team.”

“It was a very outstanding accomplishment [for John],” the coach said. “I feel much better after this weekend about the way people stepped up. That’s what we’re looking for; everybody who puts on the Iowa uniform goes out there and performs to the best of his ability.”

The previous mark, held by former Hawkeye football and track and field stand out Jeremy Allen, was, in a way, sacred to Hickey.

After tossing the shot 21 yards, Hickey heard an interesting comment from a bystander.

“After I had broken the record, one of the parents came up to me and said, ‘Jeremy Allen’s probably looking for you. He’s really mad right now,’ ” he said.

Hickey, though, said he has yet to hear from the ex-Hawkeye great.

Perhaps he doesn’t need to, now a Hawkeye great himself.