Tracksters prepare for Big Ten championships at Iowa Invite


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Step 1: Dominate in the weekend’s Iowa Invitation.


Step 2? Perform in the Big Ten Championships on Feb. 27.

In preparation, the weekend’s meet consisted of several local, low-key schools, such as St. Ambrose, Coe College, and Bradley. But even with the arguably lesser competition, the Hawkeyes remained determined.

Case in point: Karessa Farley. The junior provisionally qualified for the NCAA meet in the 60-meter hurdles, posting a season-best time of 8.37.

“That takes the pressure off her now, and she can breathe a little easier,” Iowa women’s head coach Layne Anderson said. “That’s more like the Karessa of last year.”

Farley, who has been coming back from an injury, hopes her performance at home will carry over to the Big Ten meet.

“This was extremely important,” she said. “It’s the first time I’ve really felt ready to run.”

While Farley was the only athlete to provisionally qualify, there were a slew of other solid performances from both the Hawkeye men and women.

Sophomore thrower Matt Banse proved reliable in both the shot put and weight throw, recording Iowa’s sixth-best performance in the latter.

“You have to train hard to get better,” throwing coach Scott Cappos said. “We look for consistency, and Matt Banse had that.”

After a change in training, Banse said, he’s felt better than previous meets. The throwers began doing low-repetition workouts to get more explosiveness in competition and to stay fresher for the meets ahead.

Banse noted it has worked so far.

“I feel 110-percent better,” he said. “Being consistent, it’s only a matter of time when you hit the big one, and hopefully that’s next weekend.”

Hitting the big one may have already happened for freshman Kyle Reid.

The decathlete had a remarkable performance in the pole vault, beating his personal best of 15-5 by a foot on his last attempt. He had the added pressure of the packed Recreational Building watching as the announcer turned the crowd’s attention to Reid’s final effort.

“This is a really big confidence boost now that I’ve done it,” he said.

Men’s head coach Larry Wieczorek was pleased with the meet, and he believes his squad should be ready to go in Minneapolis next week.

Wieczorek said despite the names on the opposing uniforms, the competition was still solid and allowed the Hawkeyes to put in the work they needed to get ready for Big Ten competition.

“It seems like we had some terrific performances,” he said. “After I take a look at the official results, I think we will have accomplished some of that fine-tuning.”

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