Iowa men’s track and field crowned Big Ten Indoor Conference Champions

This was the team’s first solo Big Ten title in over 90 years.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Pole Vaulter Peyton Haack runs up to his launching point. Haack finished 16th during the Hawkeye B1G Invitational track meet at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Feb. 13 , 2021.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody wants Iowa to be known as a track and field power. His program took an important step toward that goal on Saturday.

At the conclusion of the third and final day of the Big Ten Men’s and Women’s Indoor Track and Field Championships in Geneva, Ohio, the men stood alone atop the conference for the first time since 1929, while Iowa’s women’s team finished third. The men’s team shared a Big Ten title in 1963.

Saturday marked the second conference title for Iowa in two years as the Hawkeye men won the outdoor championships in 2019. Last season’s outdoor championships were canceled because of COVID-19.

“Our mission is to be the best program in the country and that starts with being the best program in the Big Ten,” Woody said. “I’m really excited about where we’re at as a program, but we’ve still got a long way to go. I think that we can be one of the best programs in the country. We’ve got the right athletes, we’ve got the right coaching staff, we’ve just got to keep building.”

The men’s team put on a clinic of sorts, finishing with a team total of 119 — the most in school history — and 27 points ahead of second-place Indiana. Woody said the men’s team left some points on the track, citing 130 points as a realistic possibility.

En route to their title, the Hawkeyes used individual wins from James Carter Jr. in the long jump and Peyton Haack in the heptathlon, each earning 10 points for the black and gold.

Carter Jr. saved his best for last in Thursday night’s long jump. The Hawkeye junior soared to a mark of 7.65 meters on his final attempt after posting his previous best in his second attempt at 7.38 meters. The shorter jump would have landed him in fifth position — worth only four team points.

“Any time you have a champion pull out [his best jump] on his last attempt, that’s pretty impressive,” Woody said following Thursday’s events.

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Iowa scored 23 points in the long jump as four of the five Hawkeye finalists finished in the top eight. Jamal Britt finished on the podium with Carter Jr. as Britt leaped 7.46 meters to place third.

Haack was also joined in the top three by fellow Hawkeye Austin West as West collected bronze in the heptathlon.

“Working hard this year has really been able to pay off for me and there’s no better feeling than taking home a gold,” Haack said. “I’m really proud of Austin [West] for putting in a lot of work this year and really showing out and being third. It’s incredibly exciting.”

While Haack and Carter Jr. highlighted the Hawkeyes, the men put points on the board in all areas of competition during what Woody called a three-day “battle.”

“It takes every single event for us to be successful in this type of competition, this type of environment,” Woody said. “We’re doing it in the field events, horizontal jumps, vertical jumps. We’re doing it in the throws, we’re doing it on the track in all different event areas. We got point scorers in every event area. That’s what it takes and that what makes me most proud, that we’re a complete team.”

In all, the Hawkeye men counted point-scoring finishes from 20 different athletes.

Iowa will head to Fayetteville, Arkansas, next, for the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships on March 12-13.

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