By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa athletic department has been on a roll lately in producing star athletes, and in some cases, even legendary student-athletes.
Luka Garza, Spencer Lee, Caitlin Clark and Megan Gustafson would all qualify as Hawkeye legends, and Lee and Clark aren’t finished yet.
Lee still has one more season of eligibility after missing this past wrestling season due to having knee surgery, while Clark is only halfway through her historic run as a Hawkeye women’s basketball player.
Tyler Linderbaum and Keegan Murray were both consensus first-team All-Americans this past season in football and men’s basketball, respectively.
Linderbaum was widely regarded as the top center in college football as a fourth-year junior, while Keegan Murray won the Karl Malone Power Forward of the Year Award as a third-year sophomore.
They both have since declared for their respective drafts in the NFL and NBA.
Garza and Gustafson both were named the National Player of Year as seniors, while Lee is trying to become Iowa’s first four-time individual champion in wrestling.
Individual star power has arguably been at an all-time high at Iowa over the past two or three years, and you can add another name to the list: Jenoah Mckiver.
The redshirt freshman from North Carolina certainly doesn’t have the name recognition compared to the aforementioned past and current Hawkeye star athletes.
But from a performance standpoint, he’s knocking on the door of greatness.
Mckiver ran an NCAA-leading time of 44.74 seconds in the 400 meters at a meet in Arizona on Saturday, breaking the school record and setting the No. 2 time in the world for 2022. The indoor NCAA runner-up is now the fastest Hawkeye quarter-miler ever, both indoors and outdoors.
Mckiver also won the 600 meters at the Big Ten Indoor Championship in February, helping Iowa to win the team title.
And, in addition to setting a new school record in the 400 on Saturday, Mckiver also ran a blistering leg (43.8) for Iowa’s 4×400 relay team.
“Jenoah had one of the best meets in Iowa history, breaking the school record in his opening 400-meter race this season, and then coming back to split 43.8 on the 4×400, said Joey Woody, Iowa’s Director of Track and Field and Cross Country. “He’s an amazing talent and just as impressive is his work ethic and dedication to taking care of himself every day so he can perform at his best when it counts.”
So, in less than three months, Mckiver has won a Big Ten indoor title in the 600, finished second in the 400 at the 2022 NCAA Indoor Championships, and set a new program record in the 400 meters outdoors.
That certainly is performing at his best when it counts.
Real Hawkeye: The Iowa wrestling team has a hole to fill at 141 pounds with Jaydin Eierman, an NCAA runner-up in 2021, having exhausted his eligibility.
Real Woods appears ready to fill that hole.
A three-time NCAA qualifier for Stanford, Woods announced on Instagram last week that he is transferring to Iowa where he will have two seasons of eligibility.
“Today begins a new chapter,” Woods wrote. “While I’m very excited to pursue my last two years of eligibility as a Hawkeye, I can’t help but think of the people and memories that have made my Stanford experience special.”
In three seasons at Stanford, Woods compiled a career record of 42-8 and qualifier, and he also won a pair of Pac-12 titles and was on the roster when the Cardinal won the 2019 Pac-12 team championship.
He has wrestled exclusively at 141 pounds in college.
Youth movement: A redshirt freshman from Georgia, and a true freshman from Huxley, have emerged as two of the top hitters for the Iowa baseball team.
Redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony, who is from Hoschton, Georgia, leads Iowa with a .337 batting average, and with 13 doubles heading into Sunday’s game against Illinois. He also is second on team with five home runs.
Petersen is hitting .277 as a true freshman with three home runs.
Anthony was named Big Ten Freshman of the Week this past Monday after combining for six hits, including a 3-run home run, in last weekend’s 2-1 series win at Michigan.