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Iowa track teams get set to host last indoor meet

BY JORDAN HANSEN AND KATRINA DO | FEBRUARY 21, 2014 5:00 AM

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As the Hawkeyes get set to host their last indoor meet of the season, the Iowa Invitational today, some athletes are fighting for a chance to compete in the Big Ten championships.

“This another opportunity for some people to make the traveling team,” director of track and field Larry Wieczorek said. “This is where some of the drama is coming to come from for this meet — can they get in the group that’s going to go to the Big Ten championship.”

Among those on the fence is sophomore distance runner Nate Ferree.

“I’m really hoping to run a good race,” he said. “I can’t overthink it; I think I’ve been thinking about it too much.

“It’s just a race; I got to run as fast as I can as long as I can and don’t over-complicate things.”

Everyone, even those who are guaranteed a spot, feels the extra intensity that surrounds this meet.

“Speaking on the distance side, we got a lot of guys who are right around that mark,” junior Ben Witt said. “There’s a couple spots left, and they’re wanting to punch their ticket.

“They know what’s at stake, and this should be a good meet.”

The meet is set to begin at 4 p.m. Friday afternoon and will feature a number of Division-III schools as well as Western Illinois, Drake, and Bradley.

Even though no high-profile teams will be in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes consider this meet to be an important one.

As this is the final week before conference meets, and many bigger teams choose not to travel, which leaves smaller schools to compete against.

“It’s our last tune-up before the Big Ten championship, and that’s something that obviously everyone is wanting to be ready for,” Witt said. “I’m expecting some good competition from people all over the track.”

In fact, many teams choose to rest their athletes, a trend that the women of the team will, follow.
Assistant coach Clive Roberts said the meet will serve more as “good preparation for the biggest competition of the year — the Big Ten.” 

After four-straight weeks of training and competition, it is crucial to incorporate extra resting time to focus on the Big Ten championships.

As for those competing this in this evening’s meet, sophomore MonTayla Holder hopes to see more of her teammates make the cut and punch their tickets to the Big Tens.

Holder is part of the quartet that makes up the Iowa women’s 1,600-meter relay team. Holder, along with freshmen Elexis Guster, Mahnee Watts, and Alexis Hernandez, clocked a season-best time on Feb. 15 at the Tyson Invitational at the University of Arkansas.

“We have a new standard you have to hit just to get on the bus to the Big Tens, and I’m hoping we can add more people to that bus,” Holder said. “The more people we have, the more points we’re capable of scoring — I just want everyone to perform well.”


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