Tracksters successful at Notre Dame, Nebraska


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Before venturing to the 35th-Annual Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational in Nebraska on Feb. 5, the Iowa women sprinters hadn’t had many opportunities to perfect their individual races.

Injuries, illnesses, and practice in other areas kept many of them from competing in their top events.
But a weekend on the “fast track” proved successful for the Hawkeyes.

Choosing to send the sprinting team to Nebraska instead of joining the distance squad at Notre Dame’s Meyo Invitational proved to be a good decision by the Iowa coaching staff.

“There was a lot of energy and fire on the track,” Iowa coach Clive Roberts said. “I was very impressed with how our [women] handled themselves.”

He was impressed by how many women ran career bests at Nebraska — their first opportunity this season to compete in their respective events.

Rhonda-Kaye Trusty and Karessa Farley’s races highlighted the meet for Iowa. Trusty turned in second- and third-place finishes in the 200-meter dash and the 60-meter dash, and she ran her career best time of 24.65 in the 200.

Farley ran an 8.48 in the 60-meter hurdles, which Roberts said was one tenth faster than her opening time last year.

“These performances were significant because all of these races are about getting comfortable competing,” Roberts said. “When [women] open up a little faster than last year, it signifies they have had good training and are ready to roll.”

Some runners attribute their success to the fact that the track was ergonomically designed to increase speed. Nebraska’s banked track, also known as a “fast track,” is shaped much like a bowl and consists of small inclines and declines.

Iowa coaches said they sent the sprinters to Nebraska to practice running on this type of track, which the Hawkeyes will encounter at the NCAA championships this season.

And while no one has shown signs of automatically qualifying for the championship meet, junior Bethany Praska came close to meeting the provisional qualifying time in the 800-meter run, finishing with a time of 2:11 — two seconds short of the 2:09 needed to qualify.

Praska had only run the 800 once this season before the Husker Invitational — her main event is normally the 600-meter race.

“Meeting the provisional time is definitely something that’s possible,” she said. “It’s just a matter of me taking the initiative to get after it. I have another chance this weekend.”

At Notre Dame, the distance team saw similar success as the sprinters. Junior Amanda Hardesty ran a 9:30 in the 3,000-meter run, beating the provisional qualifying time by nearly two seconds.

Distance coach Layne Anderson noted a number of runners who had career best finishes at Notre Dame, including sophomore Betsy Flood, who ran a 9:32.09 in the 3,000 — missing the provisional time by a mere .09 seconds.

“Setting these career-bests really goes well for the future,” Anderson said. “We have the potential to do some great things in the next few weeks.”

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