Women harriers inconsistent


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The women's cross-country team began the 2010 season emphasizing the value of teamwork.

Working together, however, was not enough to allow the Hawkeyes to rebound from the 2009 season and reach their ultimate goal of qualifying for the NCAA meet.

 "I think, performance-wise, we were never really satisfied with how our meets went," said junior Betsy Flood, who earned an at-large bid to the NCAAs as an individual. "But looking back, I cannot think of one thing that we could have done differently.

"Every person did everything in her control to have success, and it was heartbreaking because we wanted it so badly for each other."

Throughout the season, the Hawkeyes struggled to put together a strong race from all of their runners. The first meet against tougher competition —the Notre Dame Invitational — highlighted this problem, and the team finished with a score of 366 for a disappointing 13th-place.

"Notre Dame sort of took everyone by surprise," sophomore Megan Ranegar said. "And we left that meet feeling kind of down about our performance."

To energize the team after a frustrating start to the season, head coach Layne Anderson relaxed the training schedule. This allowed the Hawkeyes to bounce back for a strong finish at Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind.

With fresh legs, the Hawkeyes were able to finish 10th with a 353 team score against some of the strongest teams in the country, and many of Iowa's runners recorded personal-best times.

"As a whole, I think our strongest meet was the Pre-Nationals," senior Lauren Hardesty said. "Our pack was the closest together it had been all year at that meet."

The success was short-lived, however, and the team fell back into the slump. Inconsistency led to an eighth-place finish at the Big Ten meet and a seventh-place finish at the Midwest Regionals. The Hawkeyes went into regionals ranked fifth.

"This season has shown our team that there aren't any magic workouts or special advantages for any team," Ranegar said. "We work hard every day, but sometimes you can't put together the perfect race on the right day."

Though the team didn't meet its high expectations for the season, no one is calling this season a bust.
The Hawkeyes began the season in an impressive fashion when they dominated at the Hawkeye and Iowa Invitationals, and Hardesty's standout performance at the team's home-opener led to her recognition as Big Ten Co-Runner of the Week.  

In addition, Iowa runners produced many school-record times.

The team's success was not enough to let it complete its ultimate goal, but each athlete has seen the benefits of teamwork in action.

"I think [the season] has shown that we can persevere and remain positive in the face of all adversity," Flood said. "There were a lot of opportunities where we could have thrown in the towel and given up, but not once did that happen."

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