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Sophomore harriers shine

BY SHELBY STITES | SEPTEMBER 16, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s cross-country team flashed some positive performances and brought back a second-place finish from the meet at Illinois State on Sept. 12.

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson said sophomores Katie Adams and Sammantha Zishka were two of the top performers last week. Both earned top-10 finishes.

“This was a breakthrough race for her,” Anderson said about Adams in a release. “She has really worked hard at her mental approach to racing and has come back in great shape this year. She handled herself well tonight and ran with great composure."

Adams finished with a personal best time of 17:51 in the 5,000-meter race, earning her sixth place. She was pleased to contribute to the team in the way that she did.

“I was very pleased with my performance,” Adams said, “Getting a personal best is definitely a confidence booster for me, but I know there is still a lot more work to be done.”

Other young runners to keep an eye on this season are redshirt freshman Courtney Bruns and sophomore Tess Wilberding. Bruns earned first place at the Bulldog Classic earlier this year, and Anderson expects her to progress throughout the season.

“It felt great to race again,” Wilberding said, “I was really happy with the way our team races as pack.”

Running as a pack is something Anderson stresses to his runners, and Adams believed that the plan was well-executed on Sept. 12.

“I thought we all did a really good job of moving up in packs and staying aggressive from start to finish,” she said.

Six of the 13 runners who raced at Illinois State were sophomores. Of those six sophomores, four placed in the top 25: Adams, Zishka, , Wilberding (17th/18:10), and Carolyn Newhouse (21st/18:17).

As Anderson predicted, the Hawkeyes went up against strong schools such as Illinois, Loyola, Illinois State, Illinois-Chicago, Indiana State, and DePaul.

The performances from the sophomores spark hope for the program after a disappointing finish last season. With freshman year behind them, the sophomores now know what to expect with the training, racing, and competition. They are able to show more confidence and poise on the course, which was proven at Illinois State.

“There isn’t much of an adjustment period on both the physical and mental side of things.” Adams said.

These sophomore Hawkeyes created a positive momentum at Illinois State before starting Big Ten competition at the Big Ten Preview on Saturday in Iowa City.

“Their drive and desire to continue to develop their talents into Big Ten and NCAA level distance runners and lead the Hawkeyes back into the national picture is evident in all that they do during training and their lifestyle away from training routines,” Anderson said.

Follow @shelbystites on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s cross-country team.


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