Iowa’s rookies and veterans both prepared


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Senior Bethany Praska stood by herself, her stomach tensing with every breath she took in. Pacing in the middle of the Recreation Building, she finally caught her breath.

For Praska and her running partner for the day, freshman Adrianne Alexia, Tuesday’s practice was the most challenging of the week. The workout consisted of running 1,000 meters, then a 600, a 400, and finally two back-to-back 200s, with only 45 seconds of rest between the 200s.

It was also the longest workout of the week.

“[It will be] lighter from here to Big Tens, but we won’t back off completely [from workouts],” Praska said.

Praska, among other athletes on the Iowa women’s track and field team, will not compete in the Iowa Open this evening in order to rest her legs and prepare for next weekend’s Big Ten championships at Purdue.

For some athletes though, the Iowa Open will provide another race opportunity they need, whether it’s because of youth and inexperience, a season that didn’t live up to expectations, a need to stay technically sharp, or even to have another shot at a better qualifying time for Big Tens.

The Iowa Open has head coach Layne Anderson excited about the potential it holds for developing Hawkeyes.

“It will be a race or competition that really allows them to be competitive, and that’s the main thing,” he said. “Putting people in a competitive arena and giving them chances for success.”

Anderson noted that he will be excited for the athletes competing this weekend just as much as anything else, explaining that if they make big breakthroughs, it will be an improvement. That improvement must occur in order to someday think about sending the developing Hawkeyes to future Big Ten championships.

“We’ll get excited by good performances,” Anderson said. “And I anticipate we should have some.”

The Hawkeyes will have slightly modified or tweaked workouts leading up to the championship season, but Anderson shied away from the phrase “tapering off.”

“I have [athletes] run fast at all stages of the season, and certainly we’ve had [athletes] run very fast during the early parts of the season when we’ve put in the most amount of work,” Anderson said. “So instead of tapering, I just tell them we may modify and tweak a few things, but we typically stay to our routine in terms of the workout days.”

The athletes who know they won’t compete this weekend will cheer on their teammates and take advantage of the time off. This is the second time this season the Hawkeyes have had a race-free weekend and been able to rest. Workouts will stay fairly consistent, with student-athletes training at 80 to 90 percent of their maximum.

The weekend off resembles a similar weekend the Hawkeyes had two weeks ago in between the Razorback Invitational and ISU Classic.

“We’re training through like we did before Iowa State,” said senior Lauren Hardesty, who will not compete tonight. “We had a weekend off, so we kept training through the weekend.”

Whether the Hawkeye is competing or not, Anderson was animated about the athletes competing in today’s meet, as well as in the upcoming Big Ten meet.

“We’re going to put forth some good kids,” Anderson said. “And we’re excited about young ones we have.”

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