The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Seven Hawkeyes gear up to compete at NCAA Indoor Championship

Three Iowa track and field athletes will return to the national meet and four will make their national debut.
Emily Nyberg
Iowa’s Paige Magee competes in the 60-meter hurdle during the Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the Hawkeye Indoor Track Facility in Iowa City on Saturday, Jan. 20, 2024. Magee set a new personal and school record of 8.00.

Collegiate track and field has a March Madness of its own — the NCAA Indoor Championship meet. The meet is the most exclusive national competition in college athletics with only 16 athletes across the country qualifying in each event.

“It’s basically like you bypass all the rounds and you’re in the sweet sixteen right now,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. “That shows you how elite you have to be.”

Woody says an athlete must be faster than approximately 96 percent of the nation to qualify.

This year, seven Hawkeyes will represent Iowa on the national stage.

Fourth-year Austin West punched his ticket to the NCAA Indoor Championships for the fourth year in a row. West will compete in the heptathlon after coming off a personal-best performance of 5,975 points.

West’s experience gives him confidence going into the competitive atmosphere.

“I know I belong since I’ve been in so many,” West said. “That’s not how I felt in year one, but now it’s my fourth indoor [NCAA Championship] meet, so I will use that to my advantage.”

Fourth-year hurdler Grant Conway will compete for the third consecutive year at the national meet. Conway’s 60-meter hurdles mark of 7.66 qualified him for the meet and ranks fourth in Iowa history.

Fellow fourth-year sprinter Kalen Walker will make a return to the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60-meter sprint. Walker holds the Iowa school record in the event with a personal best of 6.51.

For the first time, fourth-year hurdler Paige Magee will compete on the biggest stage of indoor track and field. Magee will compete in the 60-meter hurdles with a qualifying time of 7.99. She holds the school record with this time and finished second in the Big Ten.

Magee looks forward to soaking up the experience and having fun.

“I know I’m meant to be there,” Magee said. “It’s just about enjoying it.”

Fourth-year jumper Tionna Tobias will also make her NCAA Indoor Championship debut. She qualified in the long jump in the first meet of February with a leap of 6.41 meters.

Third-year mid-distance runner Rivaldo Marshall will compete in the 800-meter race, boasting a personal-best time of 1:46.86. His performance is the best in Hawkeye history.

Finally, first-year jumper Daniela Wamokpego will take the national stage in the triple jump. Wamokpego holds the Iowa school record with a jump of 13.24 meters and finished fifth in the Big Ten.

Woody advises the first-time indoor qualifiers to stay true to their training and not let the atmosphere shake their confidence.

“If you just put yourself out there and do what you’ve already done up to this point, you’re going to give yourself a really good shot at making the top eight and making the final,” Woody said.

Similarly, West believes the only preparation left to do is mental.

“The best kind of preparation at this time of year is feeling good, feeling healthy, and making sure we are recovered,” West said. “There’s not too much work left to be done.”

For West, part of this mental approach includes seeing stiff competition as fuel rather than fear. He feeds off watching other people succeed, knowing he can do the same.

On the other hand, Magee prefers an individual approach. No matter who is in the lane next to her, Magee claims she will run the same.

“I’m not focusing on what anyone else is doing,” Magee said. “I’m just getting on the line and competing.”

No matter their approach, the Hawkeyes will look to clock fast times and record top marks.

The qualifiers plan to do so on March 6-9. The squad is proud to spend their spring break flying the Black and Gold to Boston, Massachusetts, to represent their team.

“I have a lot of pride in getting to wear the Iowa uniform whenever I can,” West said. “Especially at the national meet.”

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About the Contributors
Mia Boulton
Mia Boulton, Sports Reporter
Mia Boulton is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, as well as exploring a possible double major in Sports Media. She works at the Daily Iowan as a sports reporter. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Mia has been a photographer for her hometown newspaper, The Record.
Emily Nyberg
Emily Nyberg, Visual Editor
Emily Nyberg is a second-year student at the University of Iowa double majoring in Journalism and Cinematic arts. Prior to her role as a Visual Editor, Emily was a Photojournalist, and a News Reporter covering higher education.