Howie Thompson, Director of Sports Communication
Upper Iowa University will reinstate the Peacock women's indoor and outdoor track and field programs, effective for the 2015-16 academic year.
"Women's track and field has a strong and positive history at Upper Iowa University, and we are pleased to bring it back as an option for current and future Peacock student-athletes," said President William R. Duffy II. "The caliber of student-athletes who compete in track and field will be an asset for our university, and we look forward to these young women becoming UIU leaders inside and outside of the classroom."
Women's indoor and outdoor track and field are the third and fourth programs to be reinstated by the University since UIU became Iowa's only NCAA Division II university. The Peacock women's tennis program returned for the 2006-07 season and earned a Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference (NSIC) Championship in 2008 and a berth to the NCAA Regional in 2009. UIU's women's cross country program returned to the course this past fall and placed ahead of three NSIC teams at its first NCAA DII Regional.
"The Peacock Athletics Department is proud to expand its intercollegiate participation opportunities to deserving student-athletes on behalf of Upper Iowa University," said David Miller, UIU Director of Athletics. "We look forward to our women's indoor and outdoor track and field teams participating in the highly-competitive Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and providing them with a positive student-athlete experience consistent with the philosophy of NCAA Division II."
UIU suspended all of its cross country, track and tennis programs for men and women following the 2003-04 academic year as the University moved up to the NCAA Division II.
Last winter, the Northern Sun crowned two individual National Champions while 9 student-athletes claimed All-American honors. Four relay teams also came away with All-American honors at the NCAA Division II Indoor Track and Field Championship held in Winston-Salem, N.C. Five NSIC schools finished in the top 50 at the Indoor Championships including the University of Minnesota Duluth (10th), Wayne State College (16th), the University of Sioux Falls (21st), Augustana College (26th) and the University of Mary (32nd).
In the spring, eleven more NSIC student-athletes captured All-American honors, while six NSIC members placed in the top 40 at the Outdoor Championships including Wayne State (18th), Sioux Falls (25th), Augustana (25th), Minnesota Duluth (25th), Minnesota State University Moorhead (33rd) and U-Mary (39th).
In total, the NSIC will have 15 members competing in 2015-16 including Upper Iowa and the current 14 members; Southwest Minnesota State University just wrapped its first season of competition in this past winter and spring.
"We are excited to be able to bring life back to the initiatives of former Peacock leaders with this announcement," Miller added. "We have put together a five-year plan for full implementation of the two track and field programs and the recruitment of 50-60 quality student-athletes to the Fayette campus. We are excited to begin the development of two successful programs within the Northern Sun Intercollegiate Conference and NCAA Division II."
Historically, Upper Iowa University reorganized and developed its track and field and cross country programs into a full-time part of UIU Athletic programs in 1983 under the leadership of then newly-appointed Athletic Director Don Butterbaugh. Previously, the University had relied on student-athletes from other Peacock athletic programs to compete in track and field and cross country rather than recruiting student-athletes solely for those programs.
While slow to develop, the program grew. The Upper Iowa women's track and field program has seen a number of quality student-athletes compete for the Peacocks as the top marks in its record book span more than ten years of results from competition as a member of the Iowa Intercollegiate Athletic Conference and NCAA Division III.
Former track and field athletes include NCAA Division III All-American Mary Streeter, who finished 7th at the 2003 NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships and 10th at the 2002 Championships and was the runner up twice at the IIAC Championships in discus, Monica Patterson, who claimed two IIAC Championships at 100 meters in 1994 and 1995 and qualified for the 1995 NCAA DIII Outdoor Championships, and Michelle Van Sickle, who earned the IIAC Championship at 400 meter hurdles in 1992.
Streeter owns two indoor records and two outdoor records, while Patterson's name appears on three in each season including two relay teams on the indoor track and one on the outdoor track. Van Sickle is attached to ten records in total when it comes to the distance events; she is joined in those distance records by Faith Wallowing Bull, who holds seven between the two seasons. The final name that appears often is that of Edna Cheung, who holds three records including the high hurdles, long jump and triple jump.
Nate Rucker, who led the women's cross country through its first season in the NSIC and NCAA Division II, will be the Head Women's Track and Field Coach as well.
About Upper Iowa University Founded in 1857, Upper Iowa University is a private, not-for-profit university providing undergraduate and graduate degree programs to more than 6,200 students – nationally and internationally – at its Fayette campus and learning centers worldwide. Upper Iowa University is a recognized innovator in offering accredited, quality programs through flexible, multiple delivery systems, including online and self-paced degree program. With a focus on developing leaders and lifelong learners, UIU provides dual enrollment programs for high school students as well as continuing education and professional development opportunities for learners of any age. For more information, visit www.uiu.edu.
Monica Bayer Heaton
Associate Vice President for Communication and Marketing