Tracksters eager for Twilight zone

BY KATRINA DO | MAY 02, 2014 5:00 AM

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It’s no secret that hosting any event can be stressful — however, this isn’t exactly the case for Iowa’s track and field team.

The Hawkeyes will host the 15th-annual Musco Twilight on Saturday; this will be the only home meet of the outdoor season. After spending numerous weekends traveling to warmer states such as California and Arkansas to compete, a home meet almost feels like a little break.

“We enjoy competing at home for a number of reasons,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “We don’t have to travel, we get to sleep in our own beds, and fans and parents will come in for the seniors. It’s a great time — it’s almost like an off weekend.”

Saturday is Senior Day for the track teams. On the women’s side, this includes Rachel Curry, Courtney Fritz, Ashlyn Gulvas, Carisa Leacock, Shannon Maser, Zinnia Miller, Sarah Ryan, Jasmine Simpson, and Amanda Stahle.  

Simpson and Gulvas rank fourth and sixth in the Big Ten for the hammer throw, one of their biggest track and field accomplishments as their final season comes to a close.

“I feel that I improve and grow every single day at the track and in the ring,” Gulvas said. “From freshman year until now, I know that I have completely transformed into a Big Ten competitor.”
Also on the field, triple jumper Miller hopes to leave a lasting impression.

“As a senior, I need to leave a school legacy,” Miller said. “The only thing on my mind is just improving, improving — when I get somewhere, what’s the next step?”

The Big Ten outdoor championships on May 29 will be the next competition for the Hawkeyes — this weekend’s Musco Twilight will be the last official meet to prepare for the conference meet.
Assistant coach Clive Roberts plans to use this last-chance meet to hone in on specific areas or events that may need improvement.

“I’m not downplaying the importance of the meet, but the most important meet of the year is the Big Tens, then the national championship,” Roberts said. “[Musco Twilight] is just a steppingstone for us; we’re trying to work on some things and make sure that we’re actually able to compete against the best of the best.”

While there is always room for improvement, if the team competes as it did at the Drake Relays on April 26, the Hawkeyes are headed toward the right direction, Anderson said.

The women’s 4x100-meter relay team — sophomore Lake Kwaza and freshmen Elexis Guster, Alexis Hernandez, and Brittany Brown — took first place at the Drake Relays. On the field, Gulvas placed seventh in the hammer throw, and Miller placed 11th in the triple jump.

“We’ve got a lot to be excited about, and we can continue to improve in a lot of areas,” Anderson said. “If we take both of these teams to the conference meet and compete like we did [at the Drake Relays], then I think we’ll certainly do well.”

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