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Women’s cross country ready for opportunity

BY SHELBY STITES | NOVEMBER 14, 2014 5:00 AM

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Familiarity and preparation is what will define the outcome for the Hawkeyes as they enter Peoria, Illinois, today to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Familiarity comes from the upperclassmen who have competed in regionals with the hope of advancing to the NCAA championships. Preparation comes from the training and racing they have attained throughout the regular season.

And now all they have to do is seize the opportunity.

“The challenge is to race well enough to provide the team a chance to advance,” head coach Layne Anderson said.

Results from the Big Ten championship showed missed team opportunities that were very much in reach. But that seems to have been the story all season long; the Hawkeyes have struggled to react to openings in the pack while capitalizing on their individual and team strengths.

“I am confident that the team is ready to showcase our immense improvement from last year at regionals to this year,” sophomore Katie Adams said.

After Adams’ breakout performance at the Big Ten championships, she will strive to improve not only her personal records she has set on the season but to better her 21:59 mark from last year’s Midwest Regionals at Iowa State.

Adams hopes to close in on a 21-minute race, but she doesn’t want to limit herself, because she believers she can finally compete at the level of a Big Ten athlete. She also aspires to make it to the NCAA meet this season, which she can do by placing in the top-four of today’s race.

“Putting in the work day in and day out with consistent efforts made the race at Big Tens feel the same effort-wise, but my time was just so much faster,” she said.

Adams and the rest of the Hawkeyes will compete against 30 teams representing 12 different conferences in today’s race. Teams range from Big Ten rivals to small school standouts that are all in the running to advance to the national championship.

“The experience is becoming exciting because we are competing with a lot of teams that we aren’t familiar racing against,” Adams said.

The gun will sound for the women running the 6,000-meter race at noon. For the Hawkeyes, it marks for another opportunity they can’t afford to pass up.

“We expect to continue the momentum we gained from conference meet and to represent Iowa the best that we can,” sophomore Tess Wilberding said. “Everyone is looking to improve even more in order to advance.”

Today might be the beginning for those who choose to seize opportunity.

“At the end of the day, all that I can control is myself and my contribution to the team,” Adams said. “And hopefully, with that mindset, the success will come for us in time.”

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


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