Four Hawkeyes head to UNI for a tune-up meet

BY AMY TIFFANY | MAY 06, 2011 7:20 AM

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Four Iowa women’s track and field athletes will take a quick trip up Interstate 380 for the Messersmith Invitational on the campus of Northern Iowa today. The events will begin at 11 a.m.

Some people might say they are crazy to compete the weekend before the Big Ten championships, but the advantages outweigh not signing up for the chance to keep their throwing skills sharp before the conference meet on May 13-15, which Iowa will host.

“In the throwing event, it’s maybe different from some of the other events,” assistant coach Scott Cappos said. “You’re competing against yourself a lot of times, where as in the running events, it’s hard to run fast in certain races if you don’t have someone next to you. Where as in the throwing events, it’s just you and the implement, so it’s a good challenge.”

Freshmen Courtney Fritz and Amanda Stahle, redshirt freshman Ashlyn Gulvas, and sophomore Majesty Tutson will be the athletes competing this weekend.

Fritz, Gulvas, and Stahle did not compete at the Drake Relays on April 28-30, and Cappos said this meet provides an opportunity for all three to throw one last time before Big Tens.

“We’re starting the peak phase of our training, so the people who didn’t get to take advantage of that at Drake, we’re giving them another opportunity for them to get a big performance,” Cappos said.

Tutson did compete in the discus at Drake. This weekend, she will compete more for fun and practice in the hammer throw.

For all four athletes, it’s a chance to get more repetitions in events, whether for fun or to work on technique and speed.

Stahle, whose main focus during the outdoor season is the javelin, will throw the javelin and discus today. She said she hasn’t had a really good mark in the javelin since the LSU Invitational on April 2.

So for Stahle, she wants to have a meet where she uses strong technique and speed in the javelin, weather permitting.

“I think a lot of that has to do with weather, but also my technique hasn’t been very good lately,” Stahle said. “So I’m just hoping to have good weather and getting a good mark finally.”

The other two athletes who didn’t throw at Drake hope to hit a big mark. Fritz, who will compete in the discus, called it a steppingstone meet for Big Tens. This weekend, she hopes to gain momentum and consistency.

“I’d have to say trying to build some really good momentum going into the Big Ten meet,” said Gulvas, who will compete in the discus and hammer throw. “Possibly getting some big marks, possibly [setting a personal record], and to gain confidence as we go into the really big meet next weekend.”

The meet, essentially, is a low-key tune-up for all competing. And for Tutson, it’s a fun and relaxing meet to take the pressure off before the Big Tens.

“It’s just a tune-up basically for the people who didn’t compete at Drake [Relays], another opportunity for them to compete and get ready for the Big Ten championships,” Cappos said.

“That’s the ultimate goal of our team is to be successful at the Big Ten championships. I feel everyone who competed at Drake is ready, and the women that didn’t get that opportunity are ready, but I’d just like to give them another meet to get prepared.”

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