By Andrew Donlan
Iowa Track and Field Director Joey Woody has reinvigorated the Hawkeye program. With his fourth season as director approaching, expectations are higher than ever.
“The best is yet to come,” Woody told Hawkeye Sports after concluding last season at NCAA meet in Eugene, Oregon.
Last year yielded the best finish for the men’s team in 50 years. Iowa won five Big Ten titles overall and qualified 33 athletes for the NCAA championships.
The excitement from last season’s finish spilled over into the beginning of this season as fans packed the Recreation Center for the annual Black and Gold Intrasquad Meet.
The meet was a good start for Woody’s squad. Freshman faces showcased their potential, and numerous athletes posted personal bests in their respective events.
“Overall, I was really pleased. We came away healthy, which is always important,” Woody said. “As a team, I feel really strong about where we’re at right now.”
Woody, an Iowa City native, was a world champion runner himself in his days of competition.
Since he arrived, he has led the team to 24 Big Ten individual titles, five conference relay titles, and 75 All-American honors.
Part of Woody’s job is allocating the talent brought into the program to events where they can best help the team.
Tyree Sorrells, a freshman standout at the intrasquad meet, is one example of that.
“We need to have some more sprinters on the men’s side, we’re a little bit thin there,” Woody said. “[Sorrells] is a guy we brought in knowing he is a good jumper and a decent sprinter.”
Sorrells took first in the long jump with a mark of 6.74 meters but also showed promise in the area where the team is a bit thin, Woody said, with a 6.87-second time in the men’s 60-meter qualifier.
All the momentum Woody and the trackers have generated will ideally kick them off to a great start on Jan. 13 for their first meet, the Hawkeye Invitational.
All-Americans like Mar’yea Harris will be expected to set the tone for the team throughout the indoor and outdoor seasons.
“We have a lot of talent and people who want to score points at the national meet,” Woody said. “I believe that in both the men and the women, we’ve got two really good teams that are going to perform not only well at the Big-Ten level, but we’ve got the elite athletes who are going to allow us to score points at the national level, and that’s how you become a top-10 team.”
The fans’ involvement is a credit to what Woody and his staff have been building at Iowa.
“We had people that flew in from Texas and Florida just to come, and watch this meet, and see what Iowa track and field is all about,” Woody said. “People are really seeing that track and field at Iowa is on the way up. I’m excited about where we’re headed, and this is just the start.”