It's amazing how a simple return to routine can improve your mood. After months of uncertainty around whether or not there would even be a season for many Iowa athletes, this past week saw multiple sports start their seasons.
The first meets for the Iowa Gymnastics, Track and Field, and Swimming and Diving teams all took place last week and Iowa athletes took the opportunity to show out with personal bests, top-10 all-time Iowa performances, and conference-wide recognition.
- Iowa's Women's Gymnastics team took part in their first meet on January 15th in Minneapolis, where they took on Minnesota. The 25th ranked Hawks put up their highest score in an opener in 17 years, posting a total team score of 196.450. The score was the 9th highest nationally for the week. Highlights below:
- Junior Lauren Guerin scored 9.950 on her floor routine, good enough for a share of the event win, and enough to earn the Specialist of the Week award from the Big Ten.
Your #B1GWGym #PlayeroftheWeek— Big Ten Conference (@bigten) January 18, 2021
Lauren Guerin of @IowaGymnastics
Earned a share of the floor exercise title in Hawkeyes season opener
Tied her career high on the floor
Helped Iowa to its highest team score in an opener in 17 years#B1G https://t.co/LRyRTMojrS pic.twitter.com/cM3EjVhpwv
- Iowa posted a 49.000 on bars, 48.950 on the vault, 49.425 on the floor, and 49.075 on the beam. The floor score was ranked 2nd nationally for the week, and three floor gymnasts' scores earned national rankings of their own. Lauren Guerin ranked 3rd nationally, Clair Kaji ranked 8th, and Alex Greenwald ranked 10th.
- Iowa's next meet is scheduled for 1/23 against Ohio State at Carver-Hawkeye Arena, the team's annual Pink Meet.
- The men's team kicks off their season on January 30th with a meet against Minnesota.
Track and Field
- The Iowa indoor season started on January 9th with a meet hosting Minnesota. 15 different Hawkeyes took home gold medals and seven all-time top 10 marks were set during the meet. Three different Hawkeyes took home Athlete of the Week honors.
- Amanda Howe won the weight throw, improving on her previous best with a 19.11-meter throw, the best in the Big Ten this year, 2nd in the country, and 3rd best all-time at Iowa.
- Freshman Jenoah Mckiver debuted with the 9th best 400-meter time in Iowa history, winning the race with a 46.93 second time and earning co-Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors.
- Senior Jamal Britt won Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week with a 7.60-meter long jump, best in the country and 8th best in school history. Just for good measure, he won the 60-meter hurdles as well, posting a time of 7.85, also the fastest in the nation.
IT'S A GREAT DAY TO BE A HAWKEYE!— Iowa Track & Field/Cross Country (@IowaXC_TF) January 13, 2021
Jenoah Mckiver earns B1G Track Co-Athlete of the Week and Jamal Britt earns B1G Field Athlete of the Week!
: https://t.co/DdeOphYRhM#Hawkeyes pic.twitter.com/SYmEjFY5A3
- The Hawks followed up with an appearance at the Nebraska Triangular on the 16th, where they took home another 7 titles and set 16 career bests.
- Freshman Paige Magee ran the 10th-best all-time 60-meter hurdles with an 8.46 and Austin Kresley ran a 7.73 second 60 meter of his own, good enough for a tie for 3rd best all-time at Iowa.
- Iowa is back in action on Friday the 22nd, when they will host the Larry Wieczorek Invitational
Swimming and Diving
- The Iowa Women's Swimming and Diving team took on Nebraska this past Saturday, coming away with a win on Senior Day.
- The team won 10 of the 16 events and received strong performances from Freshman Alyssa Graves, who won the 200-meter fly, and senior Kelsey Drake, who was part of a winning 200 medley relay team and won the 100-meter fly and 200 IM events. Sophomore Aleksandra Olesiak was also part of the winning 200 medley team and won both the 100 and 200-meter breaststroke events.
- The men's team took part in an intrasquad meet after their scheduled meet with Wisconsin was postponed due to Covid issues in the Badger program.
- The teams are next scheduled to compete in a tri-meet against Northwestern and Penn St. next weekend.
- One last note - It sucks that underclassmen are excelling for a team that won't exist after this season due to budget cuts. It sucks that senior day ceremonies took place and the majority of the team won't ever get a chance to take part in their own senior day ceremony, at least not in an Iowa uniform. It sucks to know that Iowa spent millions to build a world-class swimming and diving facility, only to decide to cut the sport. Iowa is a better university when it provides more opportunities for its students and that includes athletics. All of that being said, the decisions of the university shouldn't hang over the student-athletes who are still competing, so I'm going to do my best to use this space going forward as a place to celebrate the athletes and their accomplishments, rather than undercut each accomplishment with a reminder of the university's failings. This isn't to say that Iowa doesn't deserve all of the heat they received and will continue to receive for their decision, because they absolutely do, but let's not let it keep us from enjoying student-athletes doing what they love and doing it really really well.