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Women’s track and field hopes for steady progression at Minnesota

BY AMY TIFFANY | JANUARY 21, 2011 7:10 AM

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Iowa women’s track and field head coach Layne Anderson said the team’s meet today and Saturday is the “perfect ramp up” from the competition last weekend at the Iowa Open.

The level of competition from the eight other teams registered at the Jack Johnson Classic in Minneapolis this weekend is tougher and deeper — not the least of which is host Minnesota.

“We cannot only show up and compete against [the Gophers] but also on their home track,” senior Bethany Praska said. “And show them what kind of talent we already have on our team early in the season.”

Anderson said the team’s goals for the classic are to get the younger athletes competing comfortably at the higher level and to continue to improve times.

He does not expect the best results of the season, but he hopes for a steady improvement. Thus, when the Big Ten championships roll around (Feb. 26-27), the Hawkeyes are prepared to run their best times of the season.

In a more straightforward way, Anderson hopes all of the athletes traveling with the team can hit personal records, even if the final time or distance does not land them in first place because of the higher level of competition. A first-place finish last weekend may not cut it this weekend.

“Some people will run a nice [personal record] and won’t finish in the top 10, but we still made progress,” Anderson said.

The Hawkeyes’ training program is set up in a way, he said, that prepares the athletes to reach their potential at the end of the season.

This weekend will be an early matchup of two Big Ten teams that will see each other again later in the season and again in the outdoor season.

“It’s always good to compete against a good team like [Minnesota] early in the season,” senior Tiffany Hendricks said.

She said the 200-meter indoor track at the Minnesota Field House, in which the meet will be held, will be packed with a lot of people. Praska noted there is not very much open space, and there are always numerous events going on simultaneously.

But Hendricks also credited the constant action as a motivator and Praska said the energy of an away meet give her a “competitive edge” she sometimes doesn’t feel at home meets.

“I think when other teams are there to be competitive, it brings our level up that much more,” Praska said. “And we can find different gears and better performances that maybe we didn’t know we had.”


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