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Final push to Big Tens

BY SHELBY STITES | OCTOBER 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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Nov. 2 marks the beginning of the Big Ten cross-country meet. It also marks the day on which opportunities lie for those who choose to take them.

The Hawkeyes have focused on Big Tens all season long, and now that the time is finally here, it is time to seize the opportunity presented on their home course.

“We have a group that has prepared well for the opportunity this Sunday,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “Our pack running has been our strength, and our goal moving forward remains to get that pack closer and closer to the front of the race.”

Nine runners will compete in the hope of capturing Iowa’s second Big Ten championship. The first, and only one, came in 1982.

This Iowa team has competed against tough Big Ten competition all season long and has always seemed to fall short, but now the opportunity has been created at the Ashton Cross-Country Course to take control of the pack.

“We have been close to several schools throughout the season, and it would be nice to push ahead of them this week,” Anderson said. “The mindset is consistent with our preparation all year. Compete and be the best version of yourself on race day.”

As the big day approaches, Anderson continues to stick to his regular practice routine until it is time to switch attention to the race on Nov. 2. This has been in the mindset of freshman runner Marta Bote Gonzalez as she prepares to compete in her first Big Ten meet.

“I have been working hard this week, and I feel good,” Gonzalez said. “All of us have been working together and we are ready now to demonstrate all that work.”

Nerves do not come into the minds of these Hawkeye runners as the pressure builds. Anderson assures that his team is not nervous, only prepared in what hopes to be the enjoyment of a successful day.

“We're all excited to see how they do individually and as a team,” junior Lisa Gordon said. “I think some big breakthroughs are inevitable.”

With 14 teams competing, being able to stand out in the pack will be imperative in order to cross the finish line ahead of the pack. This will be Iowa’s second 6,000-meter race this season. The first one recorded at the Big Ten Preview, which took place in Iowa City.

Being able to run on familiar grounds in front of fans of the Black and Gold will encourage the Hawkeyes by being in the comfort of their own territory.

“It should give us a comfort with knowing the course and staying in our routine in the days leading up to the race,” Anderson said.

Anderson has had his Hawkeyes focused on the preparation of this race all season long, and now the opportunity will present itself Sunday at 10:45 a.m.

“I am confident in our preparation,” Anderson said. “The work is done. We must now believe collectively that a breakout race awaits this Sunday.”


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