Iowa linebackers Seth Benson (left) and Kristian Welch holds the trophy after the Holiday Bowl game between Iowa and USC at SDCCU Stadium on Friday, December 27, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Trojans 49-24.

Highlighting a stellar year for Hawkeye sports

Although it ended abruptly, the 2019-20 academic year provided several memorable moments for Iowa athletics.

March 22, 2020

The COVID-19 pandemic that has shut down both college and professional sports across the United States hit athletic programs at the University of Iowa particularly hard.

The Big Ten will re-evaluate organized team activities April 6, but this comes after many seasons have already come to a forced conclusion.

Due to cancelations and postponements, the championship-favorite Hawkeye wrestling team didn’t get a chance to compete for an NCAA title. A pair of promising basketball teams didn’t get to compete in their respective tournaments. Iowa track and field’s indoor season was halted at the NCAA Indoor Championships, and the hot start to the Hawkeye baseball and softball seasons could not carry forward.

These sports and others were hit by coronavirus during a high point for Iowa athletics. Despite the early and unsatisfactory ending to several seasons, the Hawkeyes offered several memorable moments over the past academic year.

Sept. 14, 2019 — A marathon victory for Hawkeye football in Ames

In a game that took over six hours due to multiple weather delays, Iowa came out on top to win its fifth game in a row against Iowa State.

The Cyclones took a 17-15 lead on a field goal with 7:46 remaining in the fourth quarter. Keith Duncan responded with his fourth field goal of the game — a 39-yard boot with 4:51 left in the game — to put Iowa up 18-17.

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa players hoist the Cy-Hawk trophy during a football game between Iowa and Iowa State at Jack Trice Stadium in Ames on Saturday, September 14, 2019. The Hawkeyes retained the Cy-Hawk Trophy for the fifth consecutive year, downing the Cyclones, 18-17. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

With under two minutes remaining, the Cyclones forced a punt, and it looked like they would have a chance for a game-winning drive. Instead, Deshaunte Jones muffed the punt for Iowa State, Devonte Young recovered for Iowa, and the Hawkeyes came out on top in an instant classic.

Nov. 3 & 10, 2019 — Big Ten titles for field hockey

Iowa’s 2019 field hockey season offered numerous highlights, including a share of the regular season conference title. A week later, the Hawkeyes defeated Penn State 1-0 in overtime to win the Big Ten Tournament.

This marked the first time the program had won both the regular season title and Big Ten Tournament championship in the same season. It was also the program’s sixth Big Ten Tournament title.

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa midfielder Katie Birch handles the ball during a field hockey match between Iowa and Ohio State on Friday, September 27, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Buckeyes, 2-1.

The Hawkeyes were ranked inside the top 10 all season long and, after their success in the Big Ten, defeated Duke in the NCAA Tournament to advance to the Elite Eight.

Senior Katie Birch and the Iowa coaching staff earned NFHCA honors for Regional Player and Coaching Staff of the Year, respectively.

Nov. 11, 2019 — Soccer earns program’s second NCAA berth

For the second time in program history, Iowa soccer earned an at-large bid into the NCAA Tournament. It was the first appearance in the tournament for the Hawkeyes under David DiIanni.

Leading up to its NCAA Tournament appearance, Iowa soccer’s season included highlights such as a 1-0 upset victory over No. 14 North Carolina State and a win against Ohio State with seven seconds remaining in double overtime.

Nov. 16, 2019 — Another top-10 victory at Kinnick

Kinnick Stadium is not kind to visiting top-10 teams. Minnesota found that out last season.

The Golden Gophers came into Iowa City undefeated and ranked No. 7 in the nation. A 13-0 lead at the end of the first quarter and clutch defense at the end of the game propelled the Hawkeyes to victory. The fans proceeded to storm the field, and Iowa used this as the start of a four-game win streak to conclude the season.

Ryan Adams
Iowa football players carry the Floyd of Rosedale trophy off the field after a football game between Iowa and Minnesota at Kinnick Stadium on Saturday, November 16, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Gophers, 23-19. (Ryan Adams/The Daily Iowan)

Nov. 23, 2019 — Mylenek finishes season strong at NCAAs

Senior Riley Mylenek finished his final cross country season for the Hawkeyes on a high note.

He became the first Iowa athlete to compete at back-to-back NCAA Cross Country Championships since Jeff Thode in 2010-11. Mylenek improved his finish by 56 spots this time around, coming in 85th place in the 10,000 meters (31:51.8).

Mylenek finished the season as Iowa’s top runner, posting the best time for the Hawkeyes 11 meets in a row.

Nov. 29, 2019 — Duncan calls game

The highlight of Duncan’s All-American season came against Nebraska on Black Friday. With the game tied at 24 with only seconds remaining in the game, Duncan sent a 48-yard field goal right through the uprights in Lincoln to defeat the Cornhuskers and send the Hawkeyes into bowl season with a victory.

Katina Zentz
Iowa kicker Keith Duncan kicks the ball during the football game against Nebraska at Memorial Stadium on Friday, November 29, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers 27-24. Duncan’s kick put the Hawkeyes up 27-24 in the last few seconds of the game.

Dec. 6, 2019 — Garza goes for 44 in Ann Arbor

In a road loss to Michigan, Luka Garza made it evident that he was the best player on the court. Garza went for 44 points, the third-most in a single game in program history.

The 44 points was the most by a visiting player in Crisler Center history and the second-highest scoring output by any player in the Arena’s history.

Dec. 12, 2019 — Bohannon leaves it all on the court

Jordan Bohannon made his final appearance of the 2019-20 season a memorable one. In his last game before undergoing season-ending hip surgery, Bohannon and the Hawkeyes blew out Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum, 84-68.

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa guard Jordan Bohannon attempts a three-pointer during a men’s basketball match between Iowa and Iowa State at Hilton Coliseum on Thursday, Dec. 12, 2019. Bohannon made 2-of-7 from behind the arc.

After the final buzzer, Bohannon took off his shoes and wrote, “To ISU, Thanks for the Memz.” He added his initials and his jersey No. 3 before leaving the shoes on the court.

Dec. 27, 2019 — Iowa honors pair of legends in Holiday Bowl victory

After the deaths of Hayden Fry and Bump Elliott in December of 2019, the Iowa football team honored the Hawkeye legends in its Holiday Bowl matchup against USC. Iowa took the Tigerhawk logo of its helmets to honor Fry and wore a patch on its helmet to honor Elliott.

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa wideout Ihmir Smith-Marsette celebrates a kick-return touchdown during the 2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl between Iowa and USC in San Diego on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Smith-Marsette scored rushing, receiving, and return touchdowns in the game.
Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa defensive end AJ Epenesa pursues USC’s Kedon Slovis during the 2019 SDCCU Holiday Bowl between Iowa and USC in San Diego on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. Epenesa finished with 2.5 sacks.

The Hawkeyes blew out the Trojans 49-24 behind three touchdowns by receiver Ihmir Smith-Marsette and a dominant game on the defensive line by A.J. Epenesa.

Katina Zentz
Iowa head coach Kirk Ferentz gets emotional as the announcer mentioned Hayden Fry during the Holiday Bowl game between Iowa and USC at SDCCU Stadium on Friday, Dec. 27, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Trojans, 49-24.

To celebrate, Iowa did the hokey pokey in the locker room — a tradition Fry brought to Iowa City.

Jan. 19, 2020 — Another comeback for women’s basketball

The Hawkeyes faced a 17-point deficit on the road against the Badgers but proved that no lead held against them was safe in a 85-78 comeback victory.

This was the third game in a row Iowa won after trailing by double-digits after previously coming back by 14 points against Indiana and 15 against Minnesota.

Jan. 23, 2020 — Big Ten win No. 200 for Bluder

Women’s basketball head coach Lisa Bluder has had plenty of highlights in her time with the Hawkeyes. Winning her 200th game against a Big Ten opponent is up there for being one of the best.

She joined Rutgers’ Vivian Stringer as the only Big Ten women’s basketball coaches to pass that milestone.

Jan. 26, 2020 — Hawkeye legend gets jersey retired

Megan Gustafson returned to Carver-Hawkeye Arena to see jersey put up in the rafters once and for all.

Emily Wangen
Former Iowa basketball player Megan Gustafson stands with head coach Lisa Bluder during the retirement ceremony for her number 10 jersey following the Iowa women’s basketball game against Michigan State University on Jan. 26 at Caver-Hawkeye Arena. The Hawkeyes defeated the Spartans, 74-57.

The two-time Big Ten Player of the Year and reigning consensus National Player of the Year and All-American is only the second player in the women’s program’s history to have her jersey retired.

Gustafson’s 2,804 points stand as a program record for Iowa.

Jan. 31, 2020 — No. 1 vs. No. 2 at Carver-Hawkeye Arena

Iowa wrestling had plenty of high points in the regular season — such as setting the points record at the Midlands Championships or finishing the dual season undefeated — but the most notable among them was its victory over Penn State.

The Hawkeyes proved they were the best in the nation with the 19-17 victory.

Shivansh Ahuja
Iowa’s 174-pound Michael Kemerer wrestles Penn State’s Mark Hall during a wrestling dual meet between No. 1 Iowa and No. 2 Penn State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena on Friday, Jan. 31, 2020. No. 2 Kemerer defeated No. 1 Hall by decision, 11-6, and the Hawkeyes defeated the Nittany Lions, 19-17. (Shivansh Ahuja/The Daily Iowan)

Iowa won six of 10 bouts, including Michael Kemerer’s upset of No. 1 Mark Hall, which, along with the Carver-Hawkeye Arena crowd, gave the Hawkeyes the momentum to come from behind and win the dual. Tony Cassioppi’s victory at 285 put the Hawkeyes ahead and clinched a victory over the rival Nittany Lions.

Feb. 19-22, 2020 — Women’s swimming breaks records while hosting Big Tens

The Hawkeyes set five school records at the 2020 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships in Iowa City.

Relay teams took down the Hawkeye records in the 400 and 800-free relays. Kelsey Drake also broke her own school record in the 200-fly.

Jenna Galligan
Iowa’s Hannah Burvill dives in at the start of the 100 yard freestyle preliminaries during the sixth session of the 2020 Big Ten Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships at the Campus Recreation and Wellness Center on Saturday, Feb. 22, 2020. Burvill’s time of 48.65 put her in ninth place in the preliminaries.

Millie Sansome broke teammate Hannah Burvill’s Hawkeye record in the 100-back and then proceeded to move past her own mark in the 200-back.

Feb. 27, 2020 — Women’s hoops extends home winning streak on Senior Night

The Hawkeyes ended the 2019-20 season with an undefeated record at home after a victory on Senior Night. This is the second season in a row the women’s basketball team has gone undefeated at home.

Iowa’s win pushed its winning streak at Carver-Hawkeye Arena to 36 games, the second longest streak in the nation.

Over four years, Iowa’s seniors went 62-7 on their home court.

Feb. 28-29, 2020 — Five gold medals for Track Hawks at Indoor Big Tens

The Big Ten Indoor Championships proved to be successful for Iowa track and field.

Wayne Lawrence won gold in the 200 and 400 meters and as a member of the 4×400 relay team to help push the men’s team to a second-place finish. Jaylan McConico continued his run of dominance in the 60-meter hurdles to also win gold, and thrower Laulauga Tausaga won her fourth career Big Ten Championship — but her first indoors — in the weight throw.

Jenna Galligan
University of Iowa sprinter Wayne Lawrence runs his leg of the 4x400m relay during the Hawkeye Invite at the UI Recreation Building on Jan. 11. He and the other members of the Iowa B relay finished in ninth place.

Lawrence and Tausaga were named the outstanding athletes of the meet for their performances. Tausaga was later named the Regional Female Field Athlete of the Year, making her the first female in program history to earn regional honors in back-to-back years.

Jenna Galligan
Iowa thrower Laulauga Tausaga competes in the women’s shot put premiere during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Friday, Jan. 17, 2020. Tausaga’s 16.72m throw earned her sixth place, behind five throwers who surpassed the previous meet record of 17.13m.

March 3, 2020 — A big day for Garza, Heller

After a walk-off home run by Austin Martin against No. 20 North Carolina and a victory over No. 14 Duke in Minnesota, the Iowa baseball team returned home to defeat Grand View. The victory was No. 900 in head coach Rick Heller’s career.

Later that night, Garza broke John Johnson’s 50-year old single-season scoring record of 699 points to add another accolade to his breakout season.

March 2 & 9, 2020 — Doyle, Garza bring home Big Ten honors

Kathleen Doyle winning Big Ten Player of the Year honors was the highlight of the women’s basketball season.

In 18 Big Ten games, Doyle averaged 19.8 points and a conference best 6.3 assists. She would also pick up AP third-team All-American honors.

Garza also earned the Big Ten Player of the Year honor for the Hawkeyes. He is the first player to earn that award for men’s basketball in 52 years. The junior averaged 23.9 points per game on 54.2 percent shooting, while also hauling in 9.8 rebounds a contest.

Garza also earned AP first-team All-American honors and was named national player of the year by a variety of outlets, including ESPN, to become the first men’s player for Iowa to earn that distinction.

Iowa center Luka Garza dunks the ball during a men’s basketball game between the Iowa Hawkeyes and the Nebraska Huskers at Carver-Hawkeye arena on Saturday, February 8, 2020. The Hawkeyes defeated the Huskers 96-72.

March 6, 2020 — GymHawks snap losing streak in Ames

The Iowa women’s gymnastics team went to Iowa State and picked up its first victory in Ames since 2010. Iowa State was ranked in the top 20 at the time, but Iowa upset the Cyclones, 196.425-196.225.

March 7-8, 2020 — Wrestling reclaims conference title

Iowa wrestling completed its climb back to the top of the Big Ten with a dominant performance at the Big Ten Championships. Nine Hawkeyes placed in the top five at the conference tournament.

Nichole Harris
Iowa’s 165-pound Alex Marinelli, 125-pound Spencer Lee, and 149-pound Pat Lugo smile for a photo after all three won their respective championships during the final session of the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament in Piscataway, N.J., on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Iowa won the team title with 157.5 points.

Three Hawkeyes won gold in Piscataway, New Jersey: Spencer Lee (125), Pat Lugo (149), and Alex Marinelli (165). Lee was named the Big Ten Wrestler of the Year at the conclusion of the tournament and head coach Tom Brands was named the Big Ten Wrestling Coach of the Year.

This was the 36th team title in program history and Iowa’s first outright title since 2010.

Nichole Harris
Iowa’s 165-pound Alex Marinelli grapples with Penn State’s Vincenzo Joseph during the final session of the Big Ten Wrestling Tournament in Piscataway, N.J. on Sunday, March 8, 2020. Marinelli won by decision 3-2, securing the 165-pound championship, and Iowa won the team title with 157.5 points.

March 10, 2020 — Men’s tennis earns highest ranking in program history

Coming off of an upset of No. 16 Cornell, the Iowa men’s tennis team earned its highest ranking in program history.

The Hawkeyes came in at No. 20 in this ITA poll after starting the season with a 12-2 record, including a 10-1 mark at home.

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