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

Iowa track and field’s Lizzy Korczak embarks on a journey with the javelin

Korczak moved from England to Iowa in hopes of chasing her dreams as a Division I javelin thrower.
Jerod Ringwald
Iowa’s Lizzie Korczak competes in the Javelin during the first rounds of the NCAA Men’s and Women’s Outdoor Track and Field Championships at Hornet Stadium in Sacramento, California, on Thursday, May 25, 2023. (Jerod Ringwald/

 In the middle of a game of rounders — the European version of softball — Lizzy Korczak was recruited to throw on a middle school track and field team. About a decade later, the University of Iowa recruited Korczak to throw the javelin.

From coaches and athletes to professors and students, Korczak said everyone she talked to before arriving in Iowa City seemed enthusiastic about life in the Black and Gold.

“Everyone seemed like they enjoyed being here and enjoyed what they were doing,” she said. “I wanted to be a part of it.”

Ready to dive head-first into the program, Korczak was halted by an ulnar collateral ligament elbow injury during her first season.

Throughout the healing process, Korczak underwent surgery, rehab treatments, and strength training — all while adjusting to life as a Division I athlete living 4,000 miles away from home.

Iowa throws coach Ray Robinson, who started with the Hawkeyes during Korczak’s first season, believes her health struggle led to motivation.

“It lit a fire under her,” Robinson said. “She’s come into each season extremely focused.”

After a year of healing, Korczak’s focus generated a fifth-place finish in the javelin throw at the Big Ten Championships. She posted a 49.40-meter season-best and scored points for the Hawkeyes at the conference meet.

During her third season, Korczak won the javelin throw at the USF Alumni Invite with a throw of 50.62 meters and etched her name as the second-best javelin thrower in Iowa school history.

But it didn’t come easily.

Behind the scenes, Korczak was battling a demanding school schedule as a biomedical engineering major, making it hard for her to find training time.

“It adds a lot of extra stress for her,” Robinson said. “It does affect practice schedules a lot, which makes things difficult for her. It’s impressive that she is able to hold it together.”

While most other athletes have the luxury of choosing between various time slots for their class schedule, Korczak found the engineering program had limited alternatives.

With the help of her roommate, teammates, friends, and coaches, Korczak continues to handle the busy days without burning herself out. Korczak said her lifting and throwing coach has provided her with this confidence throughout her career.

“They keep me grounded and teach me that everything is going to be OK,” Korczak said.

Her training partners, second-year Mike Stein and fourth-year Drake Woody, understand Korczak’s commitment to her education and do their best to accommodate the training schedule.

The javelin group makes it a priority to foster team culture and prevent their event group from being isolated — a problem Robinson says is common on many teams.

Since javelin throwers do not compete during indoor track and field season, they do not travel with the team or compete as a part of the roster until the outdoor season begins. However, the Iowa javelin trio helps at the Hawkeyes’ indoor track and field meets and supports its teammates as often as possible.

“They could become an outcast group by default, but with our group, that’s not the case,” Robinson said.

Still, the group has a unique bond that is hard to replicate with a bigger training group, and it’s aided in Korczak’s success thus far.

“They’re kind of like siblings,” Robinson added. “They will do anything for each other.”

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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.
Jerod Ringwald, Creative Director
Jerod Ringwald is the Creative Director at The Daily Iowan. He is a senior at the University of Iowa majoring in journalism and cinema. He was previously a managing editor this past summer as well as a former photo editor. During his sophomore year, he worked as a photojournalist covering news and sports.