BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI AND ZACH SMITH | MAY 05, 2009 7:27 AM
If the Recreation Building were an older version of Wayne Maynor, than the track and field team’s new addition would be its “Bat Cave.”
“It’s just amazing,” senior All-American John Hickey said about the track and field team’s new digs in the northwest corner of the Rec Building. “We have a lounge now in the locker room, a 50-inch and a 42-inch TV with complete surround sound and iPod docks and DVD players.
“We can do pretty much anything.”
Conversely, for sophomore Hannah Roeder, who spent a year running for UCLA before coming to Iowa, she felt the original accessories at the team’s disposal were a bit out of date.
“The facilities before were definitely at a lower caliber,” she said.
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The new facility, which finished construction and became available to the men’s and women’s track and field teams in early March, is state-of-the-art all the way down to the black-and-gold carpet.
Entrance to the brand-new locker rooms, weight room, and training room is not allowed without the possession of an access key. In fact, access keys are necessary to get into any closed-door room.
Each locker room resembles more of an NFL locker room than that of a college track and field program. The lockers themselves have the athletes’ names and hometown in bold black-and-gold at the top and a large space for backpacks, duffle bags, and equipment. A large Tigerhawk rests on the floor in the middle of the room.
The weight room is a demonstration of the team’s investment in a strength and conditioning program. With several new weight benches and a complete set of barbells and dumbbells, Hickey said, the program’s tradition of stellar throwers is a nice complement to the new weight room and could help with recruiting.
“I think [the facility] is going to help a lot with recruiting,” he said. “If you look at all the other bigger [Division-I track and field] programs, they have the facilities to back their performances. Whereas we have had the performances, we just didn’t really have the facilities, and now we have both.
“It’s just like the icing on the cake.”
Women’s head coach Layne Anderson agreed that the new facilities the team can now enjoy presents yet another recruiting tool for the Hawkeyes.
“When we can bring a recruit in and show her our new locker room, our new weight room, our new track — it really helps in getting her on campus,” he said.
The track and field program is also having its outdoor track redone.
Iowa was slated to hold the outdoor Big Ten championships on its new track this season, but with the 2008 flood, the date has been pushed back to 2010, which will put the team’s new home track at the forefront of the Big Ten.
“It’s nice — we’ll be able to open the facility, get it going, and have the championship in a few years,” Anderson said.
While the new surroundings are definitely an asset to the team, he is hesitant to attribute improved performance to the new facilities.
“It kind of has a placebo effect,” he said. “But in the end, it comes down to doing your work.”