Women's track wraps up a successful indoor season

BY KATRINA DO | MARCH 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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Only a year ago, the women’s track and field team finished up a disappointing indoor season after a last-place finish at the Big Ten championships. This year, however, is noticeably different following a strong performance at the Big Ten indoor championships this past weekend.  

The squad finished last weekend’s championships just 3.5 points behind the fifth-place Purdue, earning eighth place and a substantial improvement over last year’s championship outcome; the Big Ten meet included an Iowa record in the women’s long jump by senior Zinnia Miller, along with a first-place finish by Babatunde Amosu in the men’s triple jump.

Head coach Layne Anderson and assistant coach Clive Roberts said the overall improvement of the team is due to the development of returning athletes and addition of the new ones.

Miller had never scored in a Big Ten meet prior to last weekend, when she set the school record. Freshmen Brittany Brown, California’s state runner-up in the 100 and 200 meters in high school and Katharina Trost, the 2012 German junior champion in the 800 meters, have impressed observers early in their Iowa careers.

“We had an influx of talented athletes — this year’s recruiting class was the best I’ve seen since I’ve been at Iowa,” Roberts said, though the improvement of the team has been “first and foremost, just a change in mindset.”

Raising the level of expectations from last year has also allowed for improvement; the Hawkeyes collectively developed a new culture after they started recruiting more and more talented athletes.
“We said we wanted to do a certain thing, then we went out and did that,” Roberts said.

Though the end of the indoor season may be a hopeful precursor for upcoming seasons, the team does not take this season’s success into consideration when looking forward to the outdoor season.

“[This season] tells us what we’ve been doing is working, but we have to keep pressing on,” Roberts said.

Regardless of the sizable improvement from last year, there is always room for progress, the coaches say.

“We’re already starting ahead of where we were in January, so now we can go up a notch in the outdoor season,” Anderson said. “There’s a greater chance to be focused in the outdoor meets.”

The track and field program has three weeks in between the indoor and outdoor seasons; these next few weeks will be dedicated to helping athletes become reacquainted with the outdoors.

The Hawks plan to incorporate extra time to training for the events exclusive to outdoor track, such as the hammer and javelin throw — but most importantly, they will take these few weeks to recharge.

“This is a mental and physical break,” Anderson said. “Training off the indoor track in the sunshine will help get us regrouped, refreshed, and back to work.”

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