While disappointment is in the air for the Hawks, light is just another lap away


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After the Bill Bergen Invitational this past weekend, both head coach Layne Anderson and director of track and field Larry Wieczorek seemed unusually downcast, despite their team having just finished third in a tough meet.

“I’m usually a very positive person. But today I come away with a little bit of a disappointed feeling about where are track and field team overall is,” Wieczorek said. “Many highlights, but it’s about a whole team and I don’t feel like the whole team is contributing like we need it to in order to be effective at the Big Ten Championships.”

While the words from the longtime Iowa coach to a young team may seem harsh, it might just be what they need in order to get themselves ready for the remainder of the indoor season and into the outdoor season.

The Hawkeyes are a team with an abundance of youth and a shortage on practice time. With away meets almost every weekend, practice time isn’t nearly as long as it would be on a non-meet week. These factors are definite roadblocks for an Iowa team that has several areas that it needs rapid improvement in.

“We need to see people in a lot of different events step up and compete a lot harder than what they’re competing.” Wieczorek said.

Among those events in need of improvement are distance racing and the field events. Anderson believes that there is potential in both areas, but rapid progression will be needed in order for this team to be able to compete with the rest of the Big Ten for a team championship.

“There’s enough talent here and across the event areas, that we can be a complete and competitive track team,” Anderson said. “If some people show up and others are off for whatever reason, we’re at a stage where it impacts the overall result.”

On a team where depth in specific areas is a bit of a question mark, it’s vital that the entire team shows up ready to perform at every meet. Getting meet points, something that Iowa struggled with in their latest meet in Ames, is vastly important. Those points, scored by finishing well in an event, are how a team wins.

Scoring these points goes hand in hand with depth—it’s good to have top finishers, but there also has to be athletes that round out the top eight – something several of the more experienced runners on this year’s team are stressing to their younger teammates.

“At the end of the day, when we have those paper points, those are what will determine how we do at the Big Ten meet,” said senior captain Tevin-Cee Mincy.

There is a sense of optimism surrounding the team in 2014 however. Talent—especially in the sprint events—certainly exists on this team and will have to be tapped in order for them to start winning these meets. Confidence in that talent takes time to grow and those growing pains associated with that are what seem to be ailing the Hawks right now.

“Sometimes with youth and inexperience you get some ups and downs,” Anderson said. “We have to get the individuals to rely on themselves and know that they can be the type of athlete they’ve been in practice.”

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