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Iowa harriers split for weekend

BY MICHELE DANNO | FEBRUARY 05, 2010 7:30 AM

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Many members of the Iowa women’s track and field team will be on the “fast track” this weekend.
The Hawkeye sprinters and field-event participants will compete at the 35th-Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational today through Saturday in Lincoln, Neb.

Iowa sprint coach Clive Roberts said the venue was primarily chosen because it introduces his runners to a banked track — which they’ll run on if they qualify for the NCAA championships.

A banked track, also known as a “fast track,” is different from the flat variety the Hawkeyes are used to practicing and competing on. Bank tracks are uneven and consist of small inclines and declines.

Senior sprinter Rhonda-Kaye Trusty said this will be her third time running on a banked track. Her freshman teammates might have more difficulty adjusting to the slopes and drops, she said.

“I think it depends on the person,” she said. “If they have the personality where they like adventure, it’s like a roller coaster, so they’ll like it. But if they are more used to doing things a certain way, it will take some getting used to.”

Freshman distance runner Megan Ranegar said this weekend will not only be her first time competing on a banked track, it will be the first without her regular coach and team as well.

The distance squad will run at a different event from the sprinters and field-event participants.

Coaches said the split is mainly due to entry limitations that prevent the Hawkeyes from running all of their top women.

The distance team — minus Ranegar, junior Hannah Roeder, and sophomore Lindsay Anderson — will attend Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The other three runners will head to Nebraska to compete in the 3,000-kilometer race.

Ranegar said having just two of her fellow distance runners to support her is enough.

“You really only need a few girls,” the Indiana native said. “I am really just enjoying any opportunity I get to race. I don’t expect to go to any certain meets, so whenever I do get asked to go, it’s pretty exciting.”

Freshman Mariah Jordan said she hopes to break her personal record of 9.0 seconds in the 60-meter hurdles, which she set at the Iowa Open on Jan. 16. During the team’s meet in Minneapolis on Jan. 23, she said, her first away-meet jitters disrupted her performance.

“This weekend, I just want to run the best race I can,” the Iowa City native said. “Now, I know I have to focus on myself and not worry about whom I’m running against and what their times are. I need to worry about me.”

Coaches said the Notre Dame and Nebraska events will pit the Hawkeyes against tough opponents, so neither team has an easy weekend ahead.

Iowa women’s coach Layne Anderson said he has high expectations for all the athletes because of their intensive training and dedication over the past month.

“These meets are opportunities to run fast on good tracks against top competitors,” he said. “We’re really looking for lifetime-best performances.”


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