Iowa track and field prepares for two weekend meets

The Hawkeyes will split up this weekend to compete in both the Spire and Hawkeye Big Ten invitationals.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa sprinter Wayne Lawrence Jr. anchors the 4x400m relay premier during the second day of the Larry Wieczorek Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 23, 2021 at the University of Iowa Recreation Building. Lawrence ran a split of 45.685, rounding out a victory for the Iowa ‘A’ team with a total time of 3:09.58. Due to coronavirus restrictions, the Hawkeyes could only host Big Ten teams. Iowa men took first, scoring 189, and women finished third with 104 among Minnesota, Wisconsin, Nebraska, and Illinois.

Lauren Swanson, Sports Reporter

After yet another successful meet last weekend at the Husker Quad, Iowa track and field is hoping to continue its hot streak as a split squad this weekend with some Hawkeyes traveling to Geneva, Ohio, for the Spire Big Ten Invitational and others remaining in Iowa City for the Hawkeye Big Ten Invitational.

Among those competing this weekend is junior Wayne Lawrence, who played a pivotal role in Iowa’s performance at the Husker Quad last week, as his 4×400-meter relay team won the event.

Lawrence partially attributes his efforts and Iowa’s to the Hawkeyes’ indoor facility in Iowa City.

“The great thing about Iowa is that we have a really good indoor facility,” Lawrence said. “We have an indoor track, so in times like this, we can always go inside and train.”

Lawrence also noted that he is thankful for the opportunities other schools provide Iowa to participate in larger indoor meets away from home.

While the sheer number of opportunities for Lawrence to run and train indoors have helped him, Woody is still working closely with Lawrence to ensure the training is effective.

Off the track, Lawrence has become a role model of sorts for his teammates, according to Woody.

“It’s really just trying to be as positive of an influence as you can be with the entire squad,” Woody said. “I think he’s really matured a lot in the last few years and he’s really learned what it takes to be an elite level athlete. You can’t just get to the top by being an elite athlete, you’ve got to put the work in. He was relentless in his training this offseason, especially during the [COVID-19] quarantine this summer. He kept training as much as he could. He was running hills, he was finding grass fields to train on, and he was doing general strength exercises in his apartment. He did everything he could to stay fit.”

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Despite their success, Lawrence and the Hawkeyes are still hungry for more.

“There are always high expectations for the whole team,” Lawrence said. “We always want to be in that top five, as a group nationally, and we are pretty happy we are. But it’s not always enough to just be top five, we also want to be number one. It’s obviously hard, but we’re always up for the challenge.”

Iowa’s men’s track and field team is currently ranked 12th in the latest United States Track and Field and Cross Country Association poll.

Woody chalks that ranking up to his team’s perseverance in uncertain times before the indoor track and field season even began.

“I think our athletes did a great job of just staying focused and diligent in their training,” Woody said. “Our athletes kept the positive attitude this whole fall, and I think our coaching staff did a really good job of just keeping things going. We’re really fortunate because we really only had one pause in training this fall and that was when the whole athletic department took a break for about a week. That was really all we missed out on a normal training routine, so that was really helpful. I also commend our medical team and our administration for giving us the opportunity to keep things going in a positive way and as normal as possible.”

The Hawkeye and Spire invitationals both begin Friday afternoon and end Saturday.