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Big Ten Indoors: Hawkeyes overcome important injuries in time for Big Tens

BY CODY GOODWIN | FEBRUARY 24, 2012 6:30 AM

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The Iowa women's track and field team has waited all season for this weekend.

The Hawkeyes have trained for months for the Big Ten indoor meet. Now, Iowa will get its chance to show what it has been working on; the meet will open today at 10 a.m. in the Devaney Center Indoor Track in Lincoln, Neb.

Head coach Layne Anderson has preached all season that this meet is what his athletes train for and what counts the most. Their attitude, as it has been throughout the indoor season, is optimistic.

"We've been working hard for this chance," the head coach said. "We have the potential to go and score high. This weekend is the chance to finally do it."

The potential has been there all season long, Anderson said. Several issues have kept the Hawkeye tracksters from realizing their potential this season, including a plague of injuries to premier athletes; Anderson pointed to some of his distance athletes who had to sit early in the season because of injuries and health problems from their cross-country season.

But another crucial loss this season has been sophomore sprinter Ashley Liverpool, who has been nursing a shin injury that held her to only two meets this season.

The Cincinnati native's absence has been critical to the production of the Black and Gold this season. Liverpool ran the lead leg of the 1,600-meter relay team that grabbed second place at the Big Ten indoors last season. She also claimed second place in the 400 meters.

But she will be in action this weekend, and she hopes to help her team place higher at the conference meet than the tie for eighth place the Hawkeyes notched last year.

"We're excited to see her come back," Anderson said. "She'll definitely help us out from a points standpoint. She's a true competitor out there, and tag that with her talent, she'll give everything she's got."

Liverpool won't be the only previously injured Hawkeye ready to compete this weekend.

Junior thrower Rachel Curry, who placed 12th at last year's conference championship, has been nursing a small stress fracture in her throwing hand that forced her to sit out of the Iowa Invitational.

Throwing coach Scott Cappos took precautions this week to help Curry heal in time for the meet. Even with those precautions, though, he said he wants Curry to be careful when she throws this weekend.

"We're going to wrap it up and tape it," Cappos said. "Hopefully that will provide some cushion for her when she throws. I think we'll be fine, but only time will tell."

Both Liverpool and Curry are ready to compete, and the Black and Gold are ready for today's competition.

But to simply compete is one thing, the coaches said repeatedly. To do well — and score points — is another.

"This season has been a little bit more difficult [than usual]," distance runner McKenzie Melander said. "Anytime the entire team is ready to go, it only helps our confidence."


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