Two freshmen sprinters building strong resumes


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Everything the Iowa women’s track and field team does leads up to one, main event: the Big Ten meet.

For freshmen, the championships will serve as a place to prove their regular-season success wasn’t an aberration.

Two freshmen are among the Hawkeye track and field athletes who have made big contributions so far this season.

The first is Erin Jones, who focuses her training on the 60-meter dash and 200-meter events in the indoor season.

The second is another sprinter, Ashley Liverpool, who hails from Cincinnati and runs the 400 meters and 4x400 relay events during the indoor season.

Jones, a native of Highland Village, Texas, and Liverpool have had successful first seasons thus far, improving times and recording personal records from meet to meet.

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Head coach Layne Anderson said the first year is usually just getting through the “murky waters” of transitioning to competing at the college level. Assistant coach Clive Roberts, who trains both Jones and Liverpool, echoed Anderson by saying he thinks they both have adjusted well.

“It’s really nice to see these ladies do how well they are doing already,” Anderson said.

Jones said her season highlight so far was setting a personal record this past weekend in the 200 meters, running it in 24.20 seconds.

Liverpool was a part of the 4x400 relay team that broke the Iowa school record at the Razorback Invitational last weekend.

“It felt really good that I could be a part of that because now my name is going to be on the board,” Liverpool said. “So it was special.”

The previous school record was 3:40:52, recorded in 2006. On Jan. 29, senior captain Tiffany Hendricks, senior Bethany Praska, junior Nicole Erickson, and Liverpool broke that mark, recording a time of 3:39:15.

“To break that record means something to me,” Roberts said. “[It was] significant that we made that.”

Roberts said the Razorback Invitational was a simulation of the level of competition that will be at the Big Tens. Jones and Liverpool called this their first big meet and said it was nice to rid themselves of those initial nerves.

“I came in nervous about what I was getting myself into,” Jones said. “Now that I’ve run against the best, I fell really confident going into the Big Tens.”

Anderson attributed some of both Jones’ and Liverpool’s early successes to a more specific and focused environment than high school, which allows Roberts to get more technical with the athletes he works with.

Jones and Liverpool both said they enjoy the outdoor track season more because the size of the track increases to 400 meters. During the indoor track season, an average track lap is only 200 meters. Roberts said this allows runners to open up their strides.

If the size of the track is an indicator of an athlete’s ability to increase speeds, the upcoming outdoor season will only benefit these freshman sprinters.

“Both are already running faster indoor than they did outdoor last year,” Anderson said. “[That’s a] fantastic indicator of success.”

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