The Iowa men’s track and field team will begin its season with its annual intrasquad meet in the Recreation Building at 4 p.m. Dec. 6.
The meet is a cherished part of Iowa head coach Larry Wieczorek’s season. It allows to see his team in a competitive setting before going against other squads.
The meet also provides student-athletes a manageable segue between fall training and winter competitions.
“You have practice on the one hand and competition on the other hand,” Wieczorek said. “This is kind of the middle ground where you can see those nerves, put the jerseys on, yet be competing against your teammates.”
The distance portion of the team that competed in the cross-country season during the fall will be held out of the weekend’s meet to allow the runners an extended break before competing once again.
While everyone on the team excites Wieczorek, the newcomers have truly gotten his blood racing.
Jeffrey Herron, a transfer from Texas-San Antonio, could have an immediate effect in his first year with the Hawkeyes. Having jumped a career-best 6-10 at his conference meet last year, he should bring bounce to his coach’s step in the coming months.
The new crop of freshmen includes Schaumburg, Ill., native Kyle Reid, a decathlete, Ethan Holmes, an Iowa state champion hurdler from Clinton, and Kevin Dibbern, a product of City High and one of the state’s best 400 runners.
Sunday’s meet will not only be for the youngsters, though. Seniors Adam Hairston, Paul Chaney Jr., and Ray Varner return to lead the Hawkeyes after stellar 2008 campaigns that ended in the semifinals of the NCAA national meet.
As a leader for younger members of the team, Hairston is far from worried about any possible trouble as the season gets underway.
“I think we’re pretty strong all around,” he said. “I think this is one of the best all-around teams we’ve had since I’ve been here — from the distances to the throws.
“We had a lot of regional qualifiers, and Ray and I qualified for nationals, so that’s something we can build off as a strength.”
The meet will also allow team members to shake off whatever dust, rust, or cobwebs that may have accumulated since the end of last season.
The team will officially open competition on Jan. 9, 2010, in a dual meet against Illinois in Champaign, Ill. The general feeling among the Hawkeyes is that January can’t come soon enough.
“I’m just looking forward to competing again,” Hairston said. “It’s been a while, since June. Just looking forward to getting back on the track in a competitive atmosphere and seeing where my fitness is at after the fall training.”