Strong freshman class looks to impress observers at Iowa


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That’s how many true freshmen are on the Iowa women’s cross-country team, each eager to make an impression right out of the gate.

A lot of times, teams with so many young players have a tendency to hold their first-year runners back and let them watch and learn from some of their more experienced teammates, but at Iowa, they are afforded no such luxury.

It was apparent right from the get-go that this class was going to be thrown right into things and be expected to contribute. In their first meet of the season, on Aug. 30, four of Iowa’s nine runners were freshmen running in their first meet as Hawkeyes.

Of the four, Tess Wilberding and Samantha Zishka, finished in the top five running an 11:08.26 and an 11:08.5.

“Because we have so many young recruits, we don’t really have a clear picture of what really to expect. In years past, we had individuals who were returning All-Americans or All Big-Ten and had the expectation that they would be leaders for us,” head coach Layne Anderson said on Aug. 30. Because we have such a young team, we don’t have any real front-runners.

“That’s not to say that they can’t do it, because they can, but there is that unknown there, which I think we can use to our advantage.”

In addition to being vast in numbers, the 2013 freshman class also features some so the top recruits from all over the country. The roster includes numerous all-state and all-section high-school runners who fielded offers from numerous schools before they chose to come to Iowa to compete.

“I’m really excited coming in as a freshman,” freshman Katie Adams said on Aug. 27. “I feel like the sky is the limit with what I can do, and I’m just trying to keep a positive mindset right now. We’re a young team, but coach keeps emphasizing running with the pack and running with the mindset to do our best in every practice and meet.”

The strong recruitment class is testament to Anderson and the job that he’s done in his 11 years at Iowa. In that time, Anderson has coached six NCAA All-Americans, three NCAA Midwest Regional champions, one Big Ten champion, and 17 all-region honorees.

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