The inaugural Musco Twilight meet in 1999 will always stand out because it was not only the first one, but also a showcase event for local dual-sport star Tim Dwight.
Iowa men’s track and field coach Larry Wieczorek thinks the 13th annual Musco Twilight meet, which will be Saturday afternoon and evening at the Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track, also has chance to be special.
This marks the first time that Iowa will host the Musco Twilight meet as the reigning Big Ten outdoor champion in track and field.
The current Iowa men’s team also features school record holders in seven events, with six of those events represented Saturday, the only exception being the javelin where Matt Byers is injured.
“That’s pretty unusual,” Wieczorek said. “There has never been a collection of athletes at the University of Iowa, track and field, like we have now.”
Having proven talent doesn’t also translate into success, though, as evidenced by Iowa finishing in eighth place at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in February.
Iowa is built to perform better outdoors, Wieczorek said, but neither he nor his top assistant, Joey Woody, will use that as an excuse for struggling indoors.
“I think part of not performing as well indoors as we would have liked has kind of woke us up a little bit and said, ‘Hey, we need to really step it up,’” said Woody, a former star hurdler at Northern Iowa and at City High. “So I think we’re really hungry right now and we’re not the team to beat right now.”
The Musco Twilight meet provides a unique setting for the Hawkeyes, both men and women. They get to perform in front of a hometown crowd, while also trying to improve for the outdoor season.
Senior high jumper Jeffery Herron is one of Iowa’s six school record holders who will be on display Saturday. Herron etched his name in the record book April 7 by clearing 7 feet 4¼ inches at the Battle of the Bayou in Baton Rouge, La. He improved his personal-best mark by four inches with that jump
Herron echoed Woody’s sentiments in that Iowa has something to prove this outdoor season despite being the reigning Big Ten champion.
“To be the Big Ten defending champions, it’s everyone’s first time doing that on the team, and I think it kind of spoiled us,” Herron said. “We won it, but we needed to at least be competitive indoors and we weren’t.
“It’s kind of a slap in the face and a wake-up call for everybody that it’s not going to come again unless you put in the work.”
Senior Erik Sowinski appears to have received his wake-up call judging from his recent performances in the 800-meters. Right about the same time Herron was setting his school record in the high jump, Sowinski was doing the same thing in the 800. He finished with a time of 1 minute, 47.02 seconds, breaking the mark of 1:47.62 set by Bill Frazier in 1962.
“There is definitely a little bit of pressure,” Sowinski said of being the reigning Big Ten champion. “But for me personally, it’s my senior year so I’m just having fun out there.”
Reach Pat Harty at 339-7368 or email@example.com.
Musco Twilight XIII
When, where: 1:30 p.m. Saturday, April 21, 2012, Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track.
Promo: Free Iowa track T-shirts to first 250 fans.
TV: 5 p.m. May 6 on BTN.