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Iowa's track and field ready for intrasquad

BY CODY GOODWIN | DECEMBER 02, 2011 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's track and field team has been conditioning since classes began in August. The athletes have gone to the Recreation Building every day to work on their technique, speed, and skills.

They'll finally get the chance to show off their hard work in the Black and Gold Intrasquad meet on Saturday. The meet will be held at the Recreation Center, with the field events beginning at 4 p.m.

Many of the Hawkeyes said they're excited about the opportunity to showcase their talents in a scene that's as close to real competition as many of them have seen all year. The intrasquad can prove to be where they set personal bests and show their improvement since last season.

"The intrasquad is a nice way to evaluate where [the athletes] are," head coach Layne Anderson said. "You can get an indicator … about their fall conditioning, which will show how much work you need or how well prepared you are for the season."

Anderson said he thinks he has put together the strongest team of his tenure this season. He isn't necessarily excited about any specific athletes, he said; he's looking forward more to seeing the team as a whole.

"I expect to see the strengths of our program," he said. "The athletes who we feel we can rely on at this stage, I expect to see them do well."

One aspect to watch is the throwers. Both Anderson and assistant coach Scott Cappos said they believe the exhibition meet will display a much better performance from the throwers than it has in years past.

Redshirt sophomore thrower Ashlyn Gulvas agreed; she said the intrasquad can serve as a springboard into the rest of the season.

"It's so important that you get a big mark [at the intrasquad]," she said. "It really pushes you to work harder, in case you do poorly here. But it should be a motivator, especially so early in the season, to show what you've been doing all fall."

The Standish, Mich., native said she's especially excited about the way the throwers have bonded throughout their fall conditioning phase — but she said they will push each other in competition on Saturday.

"The throwers have such a good vibe, and we all compete against each other," she said. "This will be such a positive experience for us."

Many of the Hawkeyes will be entering either their first or second Black and Gold meet, but not Nicole Erickson. Saturday will be her last chance to compete in the friendly contest.

"I'm a senior this year, so I have to go big," the 2011 outdoor Big Ten champion in the 1,600-relay said. "I have to give it everything I have this year."

Erickson said the intrasquad is a measuring stick with which to compare individual performances from last year, but she also said the meet is more laid-back than others.

"We can just kind of have fun and get ready for the season," she said. "It's a lot of fun to get ready for January [the first real meet]. It's not as much pressure as a bigger meet, because it's just against your teammates who you run with every day in practice.

"With that in mind, it's a load off your chest."

Competition or exhibition aside, Anderson said he thinks some lesser-known athletes could emerge as competitors this weekend.

"Our stars will shine, and maybe we can uncover one or two diamonds in the rough," he said.


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