Women's track looking for more


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Iowa women's track and field head coach Layne Anderson is optimistic about his team this upcoming season — especially the team's potential, he said.

"In talking with the coaching staff, we really feel like — after two pretty aggressive years in recruiting — we've filled a lot of holes," he said. "Optimism is high."

The third-year head coach, in his eighth year at Iowa, said he believes his team can make some drastic improvements from last year's less-than-stellar performance. The mixture of talent between both experienced and newer athletes is something that's good for the team, Anderson said.

The ultimate determining factor for the team will be the ability to perform in competition with the expectations they put on themselves, he said.

"I would say we have one of our better teams in a long, long time — not just individual talent, but collectively, in terms of all of the events," he said "Your improvement, lack of or level of, is reflective in your placing at the Big Ten championships.

"… We had opportunities to be better and left points out of the conference meet in certain events."

The Hawkeyes' placement at the 2011 Big Ten indoor championships was something the athletes have placed in the back of their minds because it wasn't quite what they had wanted the results to be. Iowa finished ninth out of 11 teams at the conference meet, with 36 points.

The NCAA indoor championships also remains a goal for many of the athletes on the women's track and field squad — and with a short season ahead, both the Big Ten championships and NCAAs will be quick to come for the Hawkeyes.

Sprinter Ashley Liverpool said she thinks looking ahead to these bigger meets is a good thing.

"[The Big Ten championships] actually aren't that far. We have like four meets before it, and then it's like, 'Whoa, Big Tens,' " she said. "It's soon, so you kind of have to be ready for it."

Liverpool will be a runner to watch this indoor season. The sophomore qualified for the Outdoor NCAA meet last season in the 4x400-meter relay as part of the relay team that won the Big Ten outdoor championship. As impressive as that might sound, though, she said her indoor season was better than her outdoor. Her indoor season capped off with a second-place finish at the Big Ten meet in both the 400-meters and the 4x400-meter relay.

"I improved every meet, whereas outdoors, I peaked and then went downhill," she said.

Liverpool said she'll aim for a Big Ten indoor title, and her journey will begin with the Black and Gold intrasquad meet on Dec. 3. Iowa's first competitive meet is on Jan. 14 against Illinois.

The Hawkeyes are ready for competition to begin as the season draws near, and they all said they share the same goal: They want to do better than last year.

"We are just going to have to stay focused," sophomore sprinter and jumper Carisa Leacock said.
Leacock is also a member of the 4x400-meter relay team this season.

"Everybody has to pull her weight. Everybody has to contribute considerably to the team," she said. "We just have to work really hard."

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