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Iowa track and field teams split squad to separate meets

BY TOMMY REINKING AND KEVIN GLUECK | FEBRUARY 08, 2013 5:00 AM

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The best competitison for a track team isn’t always at one particular meet every weekend.

Because of that reason, the Iowa track and field program is splitting squads to compete in the Iowa State Classic in Ames and the Tyson Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., today.

“There’s certain meets that allow for better events,” assistant coach Joey Woody said. “Eight of the top 15 hurdlers are going to be down at Arkansas. It makes more sense at this point in the year to go head-to-head against the best competition.”

The Hawkeyes will send seniors Ethan Holmes and Jordan Mullen to compete in Arkansas. The two have the fastest times in the Big Ten in the 60-meter hurdles, but Holmes finished in sixth place in last week’s Meyo Invitational on the campus of Notre Dame.

The men’s 4x400 team will also compete in Fayetteville today. The squad of Holmes, sophomore Kaleb VanCleave, senior Keaton Rickels, and sophomore Brennan Davey are coming off of a fifth-place finish at Notre Dame.

The competition may not be as fierce in the Iowa State Classic, but Woody said the athletes still have work to do against the opponents in Ames.

“It’s a good opportunity for them to go to Iowa State, and get on an oversized track, and give themselves the chance to get into those top eight spots going into the Big Ten championship,” Woody said. “There are some guys that just have to develop more and get themselves to where we need them in the Big Ten.”

Senior Ryan Weir, who recorded a personal best time in the 800 meters at the Meyo Invitational, said he’s looking forward to the Iowa State meet as a chance to prove that he can continue to be an elite runner on the squad.

“Now that I’m getting to a higher level, I’m looking forward to proving myself amongs [the competition],” the Ripon, Wis., native said. “I want to make a name for myself.”

For some of the lesser-experienced athletes heading to Iowa State, women’s head coach Layne Anderson says the upperclassmen have set an example for rookie athletes — some of whom will be split from their teammates.

“They lead by example. They show them how to warm up properly, show them how to prepare for competition, [show them] manage some of the emotion and anxiety,” Anderson said. “Freshmen tend to be a bit more anxious as a whole because they don’t have anything to base it on.”

Freshman MonTayla Holder has made a smooth transition into college track, racking up the fifth-best 600-meter run in the Big Ten thus far with a time of 1:31.22. She will get the chance to face strong sprinting competition at the Tyson Invitational.

“It’s reassuring that we’re [the freshmen] going somewhere. We’re not dependent on our upperclassmen,” Holder said. “We’re making a name for ourselves.”

Anderson was particularly impressed with some of the performances his team had at the Meyo Invitational. He noted that Kaitlyn Anderson had set a personal record in the 800 meters and won her heat.

A lot of freshmen competing at Iowa State will start to recognize their competition, such as Big Ten foes Minnesota and Wisconsin and instate rival Drake.

It will also be the second time the women’s team travels to Iowa State for some stiff competition — the Cyclones have been ranked in or near the top 10 of the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association poll all year.

For now, his younger competitors, regardless of level of competition, encourage Anderson.

“You like to see people on an accelerated curve of success,” he said. “Sometimes, it takes a year or two years.”


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