Newborn motivates Iowa sophomore sprinter


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The anchor of the Iowa women's 400-meter relay team that placed fifth at the 2010 outdoor Big Ten championships was Raven Moore, a freshman from Atlanta.

Many of her coaches expected a breakout year during her second go-around in the program — but she didn't compete.

She was pregnant with her son, Amare.

Having added mother to her title of student-athlete, Moore said her son is helping motivate her this season, both on and off the track.

"He has brought so much to my life that it makes me more determined and focused," she said. "Now I have a reason to succeed and become just a great role model, all for him. This whole experience has made me more focused and ready for this year."

Moore admitted to being nervous about her teammates' response when the news first broke of her pregnancy; she said she thought "the team would look at [her] differently."

But to her surprise, the entire program was welcoming in her return and treated her as part of the family.

"I missed them so much," she said. "They were all really supportive. It feels so good to have all of this motivation from them. Being back around them is just great."

Moore is the first to admit being a mother is no easy task. The sprinter has to balance her schoolwork and athletics career with being a mother.

But the drive to reach her athletic goals are only fueled by her son, she said, and she aspires to win the 60 meters at the indoor Big Ten meet in Lincoln, Neb. in February.

Her coaches believe she can accomplish that goal.

"I'm pretty excited," assistant coach Clive Roberts said. "She's really come back a lot better than she was before. She's really surprised me with how quickly she's come back."

Roberts said Moore's return isn't just an advantage for the Hawkeyes from a scoring standpoint, either. The four-year assistant coach said the team gained a leader when Moore returned to the track.

"Raven is a natural leader for us," he said. "When the girls see her back, they think, 'We've got our leader back,' to help the team progress. Anytime that you can add somebody to the team with leadership qualities, it makes you a better track and field team."

So Moore has added another role of responsibility to her résumé, and she said she embraces her leadership title.

"It's a big responsibility. It's something else that makes me work hard," she said. "I'm kind of hesitant, but I have to remember that these girls are like my family. I'm happy that [Roberts] chose me [to lead]."

Head coach Layne Anderson said he was impressed with Moore's performance at the intrasquad meet on Dec. 3, when she won the 300 meters in 39.94 seconds. He said this is only the beginning of what could be a big season for his runner.

Just like everybody else, he said he's excited Moore is even back on the track.

"It's nice to see her back," Anderson said. "It's always good to see an athlete like [Moore] back in action."

Follow DI women's track and field reporter Cody Goodwin on Twitter.

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