May 2015

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157 W e are about ready to flip the calendar from April to May. What's up? Well, for fans, we've entered the "Twilight Zone" of the college football season. is is the time of year where it all kind of goes dark. Sure, we'll likely hear from head coach Kirk Ferentz and/or some coaches and/or some student-athletes sometime in June. But for all practical purposes, the Hawkeyes officially go under the radar and what fills that void is speculation about everything from who has the best-looking bleachers in the B1G to why there isn't a Tigerhawk on the water tower outside the north- east corner of the home of the Hawkeyes. What I do know about this time of year is that it's critical to what happens on the field next fall. Hawkeyes tend to get bigger, stronger, faster, and smarter during this "offseason," and I'm confident that will happen again this year with this group. We've sealed the deal on the winter sports season at the UI and according to the latest Learfield Direc- tors' Cup standings, Iowa had a good winter sports season as measured by its performance in NCAA championship competition. Iowa was one of nine athletics programs nationally to score more than 400 points during the winter as a result of the UI having teams participate in eight of the nine na- tional championships in which it had team (Iowa, for example, doesn't have a women's bowling team and, therefore, couldn't score points in that national championship; ditto for fencing, and women's and men's ice hockey). You can read more details about Iowa's current standing in the Learfield Directors' Cup in a sidebar that is part of the "One-on-One with Gary Barta" feature that's included in this month's edition of Hawk Talk Monthly. I'll only add that the opportunity for Iowa to establish a new all-time high in terms of points scored is real given the fact that it appears possible that Iowa will score points in baseball and men's and women's track and field in addition to points it has already secured by being invited to participate in the 2015 NCAA Men's Golf Championship. For more information about the Learfield Directors' Cup including the current standings, click HERE. I told Rick Heller during his interview process that I had lived in Iowa City for more than 30 years and that this community would embrace a baseball pro- gram that was competitive within the Big Ten Con- ference and that it would do even better if the team was to be elevated to a position where it was con- tending for a Big Ten title. Nationally ranked Iowa took three straight games from nationally ranked Nebraska last weekend at Duane Banks Field and the place was busting at the seams. Yes, Rick, Hawkeye fans and Iowa in general enjoy the game of baseball, particularly when what's being played is the kind of ball you have the Hawkeyes' Boys of Summer playing: Superior pitching, solid if not outstanding defense, and smart, productive, and opportunistic offense. How about Carson Schaake? e Omaha, Nebraska, native battled to climb two positions in Sunday's final round to finish tied for first place at the 2015 Big Ten Conference Men's Golf Championship at Victoria Country Club in Newburgh, Indiana. Schaake, who finished the tournament 4-under-par and tied with Illinois' Nick Hardy for medalist honors, is Iowa's first conference champion since Brad Klapprott won the event in 1992. In fact, Schaake and Klapprott are the only two Big Ten Conference championship cham- pions in school history. e best news for Hawkeye fans? Schaake is a sophomore. "He stayed patient and played his game. When the opportunity came on the back (nine) to win, he finished like a champion," said his head coach, Tyler Stith. We should also take this opportunity to compliment former Hawkeye football players who helped make the third annual Kamp Kinnick kids clinic the morn- ing of Iowa's spring football game a success. Both campers and their instructors didn't let the elements get the in the way of fun and instruction. As in the past, it was a good day to be a young — and old — Hawkeye! Lastly, put a big "X" on your calendar for Saturday, June 27. at night the UI will stage its inaugural "Movie Night at Kinnick" presented by Scheels. You can read more and help select the movie that will be shown by clicking HERE. Go Hawks!

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