Iowa track and field teams stay home for final meet
The Iowa track and field program is ending its indoor regular season the way it began — it will host a meet.
The Hawkeyes began their season with the Iowa Open where the team took home 13 individual titles; but look to set themselves up for next weekend’s Big Ten Indoor Championships with a strong outing at today’s Iowa Invite.
It’s been just over a month since the tracksters competed at the familiar UI Recreation Building for a meet, but for assistant coach Clive Roberts, it’s just another meet for the team, regardless of where the squad is competing.
“I don’t know if I’m never not comfortable with them on the road, that’s track and field, going to different venues,” Roberts said. “It’s good to be home. We get to practice on our track and then go compete on our track.”
Sprinter Adrianne Alexia says being back in Iowa City for competition has its advantages.
“It’s always really nice to be home. You have more people you know in the stands,” Alexia said. “You’re on your home track, so it’s more familiar. You don’t have to walk into a facility and learn where everything is, you just know. It’s one less thing you have to focus on for race day.”
Long jumper Carissa Leacock says the home crowd provides extra motivation to perform at a high level.
“When ever you’re in front of your home crowd, you want to do good and you don’t want to disappoint them, you want to put on a good show for them,” Leacock said.
Leacock added that she’s not only shooting to score with a 20 foot jump in the Big Ten’s, but place in the top three, which mean’s improving on her current jump of 19 feet, 2 inches this weekend.
The men’s squad, meanwhile, has been working towards building up paper points before the Big Ten Championships, but has seen limited success thus far. Assistant coach Joey Woody said the home meet is the best place to have a final meet before the league championships.
“It keeps our focus on building towards the Big Ten meet,” Woody said. “We still have a lot of holes that we need people to step up in and perform. It also gives the guys who are in the position to score points at the Big Ten meet a last chance to sharpen things up.”
Director of Field events Scott Cappos said having a home meet this late in the season is especially beneficial to the field athletes.
“It’s kind of a last tune up,” he said. “A lot of the time in the field events, they’re ready to go this time of the year. Some of the runners need to rest, so it’s a great environment for our team to have right before the big one.”
Woody admitted that the men’s team is in a tough spot with where they are in the standings based on paper points, but acknowledged that this final meet can make a difference.
“It’s going to be tough to be one of the top two or three teams in the Big Ten meet,” he said. “But that doesn’t mean that we can’t move up in the standings from where we’re at right now.”
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