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Distance runner makes immediate impact

BY TRAVIS VARNER | JUNE 09, 2009 7:26 AM

Iowa freshman distance runner Betsy Flood was considered a future star before the outdoor track season, but she has made an immediate impact by qualifying for this week’s NCAA championships in Fayetteville, Ark.

Flood qualified in the 1,500 meters, finishing with a time of 4:25.98 at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Norman, Okla., good for fourth place.

She recalls her final race being quite nerve-racking and starting out very slow. Flood was near the lead for most of the race but eventually was passed. Nevertheless, her fourth-place finish was enough to automatically qualify.

“Before the race, I was really extremely nervous, and was still probably nervous for the first lap,” Flood said. “Then, I just calmed and got competitive … some girls passed me, but I wasn’t that nervous and felt good. I was really glad the race was over.”

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson was not surprised by her performance at regionals because of her accomplishments in high school — she was a four-time state champion in track.

“I was well aware of her talent,” Anderson said. “I’ve watched her competitive spirit through her high school, and I knew from a talent standpoint she was certainly good enough to compete at the college level. I’m not surprised in the fact that she qualified for the NCAA championships as a true freshman.”

Being a native of Des Moines, Flood pretty much knew from the beginning she wanted to go to Iowa. Anderson was more than happy to welcome her to his team.

“She was certainly one of the top runners in the state of Iowa,” Anderson said. “When I watched her compete, I really admired her competitive fire, her tenacity, her eagerness, and the way she really attacked the races.”

Flood is determined to continually get better in every way on the track, practicing on average for a couple of hours a day. She believes a strong mindset and hard work will bring rewards in the future.

“I just kind of realized that running is a sport where you can really reap the rewards of your hard work,” she said. “If you put your mind to it, I think anyone can be a fast runner … I just want to keep getting better, so I made that a goal.”

Through great success on the track, she has not let it go to her head and remained humble. Anderson is impressed with her personality and thinks she has a positive influence on everyone around her.

“She’s a very positive person, she’s fun to be around, and she brings a mood that lightens things up and cuts the tension for everybody,” Anderson said. “She’s pretty humble, and she’s not going to stand up on a footbox and beat her chest and tell you how great she is.”

Flood kept her strong sense of humility by steering clear of a predicted finish at the NCAA championships, and insisted she’ll be happy with the results as long as she does her best.

“I don’t really like making predictions, I just want to run the best that I can run,” Flood said. “I’ll be happy if it’s my best.”


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