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Senior harrier considers redshirting

BY MICHELE DANNO | MARCH 24, 2010 7:30 AM

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Senior distance runner Hannah Roeder has led the Hawkeyes as both a competitor and a captain for the past few seasons.

But she may voluntarily sit out during Iowa’s outdoor track season.

Because she was a 2010 women’s indoor track and field captain, is in the best shape of her career as far as her health is concerned, and is Iowa’s only experienced competitor in the steeplechase, she seems like an unlikely candidate for receiving a redshirt.

However, Roeder and head coach Layne Anderson agreed taking a bye this season to prolong her Iowa career seems like the best option for the veteran.

The ultimate deciding factor rests on being accepted by Iowa’s master’s of public health program for the 2010-11 school year. She said if she is going to be on campus next year, she might as well continue running.

Roeder said she will only use an extra season of eligibility if she is accepted into graduate school — if not, she will forgo it and graduate in May.

“This decision is something that has developed,” she said. “The first few years I was running in college, I had some health problems, so my running didn’t really go how I wanted it to. I thought this would just be a way to get another year to develop.”

Anderson admitted deciding to redshirt a perfectly healthy senior is a fairly rare occurrence but agreed Roeder’s circumstances fit the situation.

Because of injuries during her freshman year at UCLA, she was forced to redshirt her indoor season. Once she became a Hawkeye her sophomore year, she realized she still had a season of eligibility she could tack on to the end of her Iowa career.

While she is uncertain about her graduate-school acceptance, Anderson said he considers her redshirt status a done deal based on her academic achievements.

A double major in integrated physiology and international studies, Roeder has managed to maintain a 4.0 grade point average, and she was honored as an academic All-Big Ten athlete in her 2009 track season.

Anderson said Roeder’s academic accomplishments, along with her success on the track, make her a great leader and example for the younger tracksters.

Sophomore Danielle Berndt is proof of her coach’s statement. She said Roeder has been helping her practice and develop in the steeplechase event.

Because the Iowa women currently have no other steeplechase competitors besides Roeder, the team needs to train a replacement for the 2010 season.

Berndt said she only ran the event once in high school, and she has no other experience running the 3,000-meter race, which is interrupted by hurdles and a water pit.

But having Roeder as a leader has made training much smoother, she said.

“She’s a really good leader,” Berndt said. “She leads by example and works hard every day. It’s really good to have her around, because she’s been helping me a lot and showing me what to do for the steeplechase.”

Berndt admitted she has a long way to go to get to Roeder’s level of expertise in the event. Roeder is third all-time at Iowa in the steeplechase, and she placed eighth in the Big Ten last season in the event. She advanced to regionals, where she placed 13th.

Still, both Anderson and Roeder see room for improvement.

“It never hurts a program having a Hannah Roeder around for as long as possible,” Anderson said. “I think she can potentially be a lot better a year from now, and we’ll make certain that it’s the best possible year for her.”


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