Iowa opens with personal bests and a base to build momentum


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The Iowa Open was more than just a one-woman show.

Competing in its first home meet of the indoor season, in the Recreation Building on Jan. 15, the Hawkeye women’s track and field team took home 10 first-place finishes. The squad also had numerous other top-tier finishes.

Though head coach Layne Anderson said the opposing teams might not have been the strongest the Hawkeyes will face, he was pleased with the way the majority of his student-athletes treated the matchups as a championship meet.

One group which built on its early successes of the season was the young group of throwers. Throwers coach Scott Cappos called it a good step forward.

In the shot put, Iowa recorded the top four spots as well as a seventh-place finish among the 16 competitors. In the weighted throw, Iowa took the top-three finishes, as well as sixth place out of the 13 athletes who scored in the event.

Sophomore Majesty Tutson, who took first place in the weight throw, recorded a personal record of 16.98 meters. She was followed in second place by sophomore Kelsey Taylor, and redshirt freshman Ashlyn Gulvas came in third.

Redshirt freshman Rachel Curry also set a personal best in the shot put with a final throw of 14.08 meters. Curry was followed in second place by freshman Micaela Haight. Redshirt freshman Jasmine Simpson took home third, and Tutson came in fourth.

“To come out ahead of where I was before [in the intrasquad meet, in which she also recorded a personal best] was a really nice surprise for me,” Curry said.

Another strong area for the Hawkeyes was the 800-meter race. Senior Bethany Praska took first place with a time of 2:11:22.

“It took me halfway through the season last year to run that,” she said.

Praska said her 800-meter time was only a few seconds off of her personal best in the 800, 2:08:54 during the 2010 indoor season.

Iowa also took the next six places in the 800 meters. Senior Lauren Hardesty and junior Betsy Flood came in second and third.

Anderson also noted senior Tiffany Hendricks’ strong performance in the 600 meters, which he said was a little bit faster than at this time last year.

Overall, the coach said, the athletes who were expected to fare well did just as their coaches thought they would. As Anderson said, the “experienced veterans” of the team — including Hendricks, Praska, Hardesty, Flood, among others — were big players for the Hawkeyes.

The coach was also pleased that some of the younger runners — such as freshman sprinters Erin Jones and Ashley Liverpool — had breakout performances.

“It was a great start,” Anderson said. “I was pleased with the competitive effort and the way people went out after it like it was a championship meet.”

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