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Iowa women’s track and field ties for eighth at Big Tens

BY AMY TIFFANY | FEBRUARY 28, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women’s track and field team crowned one individual champion on Sunday at the women’s Big Ten Championships, as well as many other top tier finishers in the finals. As a team, the Hawkeyes tied for eighth place, scoring 56 points at the competition in West Lafayette, Ind.

The individual Big Ten champion was senior Bethany Praska, who took first in the 600-meter final with a time of 1:28:99 — a personal record.

Assistant coach Clive Roberts, who is in his third year working with Praska, said she has put in a lot of very hard work and training, and he wasn’t surprised to see her take the top spot. His message to all of the athletes was that this weekend was a step in the right direction, but they still have a long way to go.

Head coach Layne Anderson said the squad was hoping for a slightly better finish, and said their performance and the work they’ve put in was not necessarily reflective in the results. He noted the Hawkeyes left a few points out there they should have gotten but gained a few others in places they weren’t expecting.

The Hawkeyes were only 12.5 points away from fourth place.

“The place that we got today really isn’t indicative of everything the team’s accomplished and how far we’ve come,” senior captain Tiffany Hendricks said.

Junior Betsy Flood took second place in the 3,000-meter race on Feb. 26. She ran a collegiate-best time of 9:23:09.

The Iowa distance medley, another event that ran its final on Feb. 26, took third place. The team of junior McKenzie Melander, Hendricks, senior Lauren Hardesty, and junior Brooke Eilers ran the event in 11:24:36.

“[The distance medley] was a little disappointing because we actually wanted to get out there and win,” Hendricks said. “But you can’t be disappointed for getting on the podium.”

On Sunday, freshman Erin Jones took seventh in the 200-meter final. In the 400-meter final, freshman Ashley Liverpool took second place with a time of 54.79. Hendricks ran a time of 55.76 in the final of the 400 meter for sixth place but said her focus was on how well Liverpool did.

Hendricks said that if Liverpool had had a few more meters, she would have won, and added she was just personally happy to score points for the Hawkeyes in the event.

Melander and Hardesty placed seventh and eighth in the mile, scoring a few points for Iowa.

On Sunday, Flood also ran the 5,000-meters, where she took second place with a time of 16:25:67.

The first-place finisher, Michigan State freshman Emily MacLeod, finished in 16:25:65 — only two-hundreths ahead of Flood. Flood and Anderson both noted that her events were extremely competitive, and Anderson said it would have been nice for Flood to get some Big Ten titles this past weekend.

The 4-by-400 relay wrapped up the day on Sunday. The Iowa team of Liverpool, Hendricks, junior Nicole Erickson, and Praska finished second with a time of 3:40:38.

“I think a lot of people had great individual performances. The distance medley and the 4-by-4 went out and definitely put work out and left it on the track,” Praska said. “It’s great that we were able to climb a little higher on the list and work our way up on the list and start that climb.”


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