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Hawkeye trackster Larney has to slow down to speed up

BY TORK MASON | MAY 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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Iowa's Josh Larney was brought into the program to have an immediate effect. The junior was a JuCo national champion in the long jump at Iowa Central Community College in 2011, and he joined the Hawkeyes in January.

But it didn't take long for Larney to suffer a setback. He injured his back a few weeks before the Big Ten indoor championships, and he is now starting to come around just before the conference outdoor meet. He took first place in the 100 meters at the Botts Invitational on April 14 and ran on the sprint medley relay team that took second at last weekend's Drake Relays.

But the early injury was a formidable obstacle for Larney.

He said it was a minor injury at first, but then he aggravated it while weight training — and then again on the track. It just kept getting worse, he said.

"It got to the point that one day, I literally couldn't walk," he said. "And when you hurt your back — you can't get off your back. When you hurt your leg, you can do things to work around your leg. But no matter what you're doing [with a back injury] — when I was sitting in class, my back would hurt. Just walking around, anything. You can't get off your back."

Larney said he kept putting off getting treatment for the injury because he wanted to keep working. The Cleveland native was behind his teammates because of his mid-season arrival and the injury, and it left him pressing things.

"I think sometimes he's trying to prove himself, being new here," head coach Larry Wieczorek said.

Larney and horizontal jump coach Clive Roberts said the junior has also over-thought things at times this year, and that has had an effect on his performance.

"I need to run with a clear mind," he said. "A lot of the time, I've been holding myself back because I'm thinking so much about what I'm supposed to do instead of just going out and doing it."

Roberts said Larney still has a lot of work to put in before he's a top sprinter, despite his smattering of strong performances on the medal stand,

"I wouldn't say he has been that successful yet," Roberts said. "He ran 10.64 [seconds], and in my book, that ain't successful. He has a ways to go. To a certain degree, success is different for everyone, but at the end of the day, we measure success by if you can win a Big Ten championship.
"Is he moving in the right direction? Yeah. But he has a ways to go."

Sprint coach Joey Woody said the speed is there for Larney, but he's slow coming out of the starting blocks — he was last out of the blocks in his eighth-place finish at the Drake Relays.

Wieczorek said Larney needs to slow things down and he'll have success. He credits his philosophy to a book called Relax and Win.

"He's just got to relax and let it flow," Wieczorek said. "I think he may be going 100 percent — when, in sprinting, you should try to go 90 percent. Go 90 percent because then you're relaxed and smooth, and if you're thinking 100 percent, you're tensing up and tight."

Follow DI men's track reporter Tork Mason on Twitter.


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