Close finishes for women highlight Musco Twilight XIV

BY DANNY PAYNE | APRIL 22, 2013 5:00 AM

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It was a night of neck-and-neck finishes for the Iowa women’s 100-meter and 800-meter runners at the 14th-annual Musco Twilight track and field meet. Despite the cold temperatures on April 20, several Hawkeyes turned in strong performances.

The 100 meters, one of the most exciting races of the evening, came down to the wire with freshman Lake Kwaza running a time of 11.93 to narrowly beat junior teammate Raven Moore, who ran a time of 12.03.

Moore and Kwaza both said their strategies were to treat the race as they do in practice.

“One of the things that gets me is thinking too much about a race,” Moore said. “In practice I’m more relaxed, and that’s all I thought about was relaxing and getting it through.”

The freshman from Sycamore, Ill., used a different strategy to motivate her to compete.

“I try to think of it as practice, because at practice I feel like I push more and give more,” Kwaza said. “[Our coach] will get after us if we’re not hitting his time he wants at practice.”

As the night progressed, junior Adrianne Alexia (2:12.35) bested freshman Kaitlyn Nelson (2:13.38) in the 800 meters.

Alexia was excited to run under the lights, even if the night was a tad chilly. It was something the athletes do not frequently have the opportunity to do.

“You’re kind of more in-a-stadium feel, and it’s just really cool to run at night under the lights,” the former high-school state champion said.

Each pairing gets the opportunity to race each other on a daily basis. The juniors said they feed off the competition their younger counterparts provide in practice and in meets.

“She’s always 1 inch farther away, and I just have to keep pushing to get to her,” Moore said of Kwaza. “She’s so talented as a freshman, she’s just somebody who I really like to compete with because she’s just like everybody else that’s talented in other schools. It’s great to have her as a partner.”

Alexia has a similar attitude toward running with Nelson.

“It’s really nice running with her because I know she’s going to push me and I’m going to push her,” the Grundy Center, Iowa, native said. “We just kind of made it our thing where we try to help each other out as much as we can but yet still be able to run our own race.”

Junior Jasmine Simpson won the hammer throw with a mark of 191-01. Freshman Tayo Oladele-Ajose also set a personal best in the high jump with a first-place jump of 5-6.5.

Head coach Layne Anderson was happy his team battled throughout the meet, given the cold weather. He said his team’s level of competition was satisfactory.

“[There were] some things that we continue to see,” Anderson said. “That consistent level of performance; that’s what we need going forward.”

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