Iowa's Sowinski seizes silver in NCAA track
Hawkeye second in 800-meter run
DES MOINES — Two re-set records.
One explosive kick.
Iowa middle distance runner Erik Sowinski provided all of the above during this week’s NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships, which culminated in a second-place finish in Friday’s 800-meter run final at Drake Stadium.
A picture-perfect ending to a medal-studded black and gold-framed career?
“Yeah,” said the Hawkeye senior from Waukesha, Wis., who ran a personal-best 1:45.90. “To finish at Drake, a place where I’ve had a lot of great memories and a hometown crowd — my family, my friends, my parents don’t get to come to a lot of meets and they were able to come here. So it’s been real special to me. It’s been a great weekend. I can’t wait for the Olympic Trials.”
Neither can most of the runners who competed before a crowd of 4,683.
Florida surged to the top of the men’s standings with 36 points.
Louisiana State and Oregon share the lead in the women’s race with 40 apiece.
The Ducks have been second to Texas A & M the past three seasons.
The Lady Tigers seek their second outdoor crown in five years.
“We’re in this for the team title,” said LSU’s Cassandra Tate, who won the 400 hurdles in a time of 55.22. “I’m glad I could contribute the 10 points.”
Sowinski — who contributed eight of Iowa’s 12 points while finishing behind champion Charles Jock of California-Irvine — languished in seventh until sprinting to second in the final 50 meters.
He entered the meet as the Hawkeyes’ record-holder in the event at 1:46.88.
He slashed that standard to 1:46.09 in the semifinals and whittled it further during Friday’s remarkable run.
“I found that gear again,” Sowinski said. “That gear I haven’t had in like the last year or two. I just pushed and clipped off as many guys as I could.”
Not Jock, however, who finished a close second in the 800 a year ago, a mere four-hundredths of a second from gold.
He ran 1:45.59 Friday.
“It feels like redemption,” Jock said. “I’ve played that video so many times. It must be 20 times this week. I came into this race focused.”
So did Iowa State sophomore Edward Kemboi, who despite being boxed in managed to sweep outside and take fifth in the 800 for the second year in a row.
“That made me have to run a little more to get where I wanted to be,” said Kemboi, who clocked a 1:46.20. “I was happy, but I know I could have run a better race.”
Other Iowa college competitors: ISU’s Kianna Elahi finished seventh in the 400 hurdles (56.93). ... The Hawks’ Troy Doris settled for fifth in the triple jump (54-1). ... UNI’s Olimpia Nowak took 12th in the heptathlon and the Panthers’ Daniel Gooris ended up 10th in the decathlon. ... The Cyclones’ Daniele Frere placed 10th in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 54-7 1/2.