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Track Hawks set to open season

BY MARIO WILLIAMS AND COURTNEY BAUMANN | DECEMBER 05, 2014 5:00 AM

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In terms of training, it hasn’t been an easy fall for the Hawkeyes, and it won’t be getting easier anytime soon. The squad has been practicing intensively since September, and now it’s time to roll.

“This Saturday, we get a chance to put our uniforms on and get out and compete against one another,” Iowa director of track and field Joey Woody said.

Woody, who’s in his first year as the director, will use the meet to evaluate where his athletes are heading into the indoor season. In addition, Woody will use results to place his athletes in certain events. Saturday’s meet will feature the 60 meter dash, 300 meter, 600 meter, 4x4 relay, 60-meter hurdles, the mile, and many field events.

In past intrasquad meets, some athletes have had NCAA qualifying times. With that, Woody’s expectations in his athletes are lofty.

“I don’t expect anything less than high performances,” he said. “We’ve had a long training season, so it’s a great opportunity for our kids to come out and show what they can do.”

This season brings back a number of All-Americans along with some fresh new talent. Iowa assistant coach Jason Wakenight believes the athletes are confident going into the meet, based on their training.

“Everyone looks how I’ve hoped and then some,” he said. “I feel like we’re a lot ahead of where this group was last year.”

In the past, the Black and Gold meet has been an opportunity to switch things up after months of training and prepare the Hawkeyes for the indoor season.

“Just like every year with intrasquad we’re trying to break up training,” assistant coach Clive Roberts said. “It’s still December, we’re still trying to figure some things out and put them in a competitive situation.”

Although the coaches have a good idea of where each athlete will compete come the first meet, they will still use intrasquad to assess and re-evaluate some of those decisions.

It will also allow for the athletes to practice some new things they’ve learned in a competitive setting, such as the high jumpers coming in from a longer approach.

“They haven’t really done that yet,” said assistant coach Molly Jones, who oversees the high jump. “They’re going to have to do it a week after they get back from Christmas break, so they need to get used to it.”

The Hawkeyes will begin official competition on Jan. 10 when they host the Border Battle, and the track and field staff members are doing what they can to make sure the team is prepared coming off a prolonged break.

Because there is not much opportunity for the coaches to work with the Hawkeyes over winter break and before their next meet, the coaches like to use this meet as a marker of sorts to see where everyone is after months of training.

“There’s not a lot of time to really improve, especially over winter break,” Woody said. “If you’re not ready to go now, it’s going to be pretty hard to catch up once we get into the season.”

Follow @marioxwilliams and @cbomb12 on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa track and field team.


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