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Hawks set to compete at first road meet

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | JANUARY 23, 2015 5:00 AM

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After competing fairly well in the Border Battle at Iowa City earlier this month, the Iowa track and field squad is prepared for the Big Four Duals, set to take place in Ames, Iowa, on Saturday.

The team opened its 2015 indoor season with six first-place finishes and 15 second-place finishes at the Border Battle. The highlight of the meet came from the women’s 1,600-meter relay, where Iowa won with a time of 3:50.96.

Surprisingly, that group of athletes — sophomore Alexis Hernandez, junior Lake Kwaza, senior Adrianne Alexia, and junior MonTayla Holder — were not the “A” team. This weekend’s meet in Ames will feature that, said Holder.

Holder is confident in performing after some intense training.

“I do a lot of over training that will prepare me for the 4-by-4,” she said.

The Big Four Duals mark the team’s first indoor road meet of the season. Despite the time of travel and being away from home, Iowa’s director of track and field, Joey Woody, isn’t too worried about being on the road.

“It’s not a huge deal and it’s not a big travel trip,” he said. “It’s kind of a nice opportunity for us not to have to travel a huge long trip for our first away trip being in state.”

The Lied Recreation Center, located on the campus of Iowa State, is a 300-meter track, which isn’t what Iowa is used to training on. The Hawkeyes train on a 200-meter track.

Woody believes competing on an oversized track will set his athletes up for what’s to come this season.

“Their track surface is a great opportunity for us to go there and run fast,” he said. “We’re going to be competing on a similar track surface as we will when we go to the Big Ten Championship. For our situation its a great opportunity for our athletes to go get a good competitive time that’s going to set us up to know where we stand in the Big Ten.”

Earlier this week, the athletes worked on building endurance through a series of different exercises. This, the team said, is part of the season regimen. Once completed, they’ll turn their attention to more detail-oriented workouts.

“This next cycle of training we’re going through is very, very specific,” assistant coach Jason Wakenight said. “We’re doing a lot of speed stuff and a lot of stuff that’s closer to race pace and rhythm. The intensity is going up and the quality of our workouts are going up.”

He added: “We really want to perform at the end of the season. The first few meets is just learning race rhythm, strategy, and running fast times. These first couple weeks is just about being good competitors and getting in there. Who cares what the time is let’s just go try to beat people.”

In addition to the Hawkeyes, the Big Four Dual will include teams from Drake, Iowa State, and Northern Iowa. This in-state meet will feature a number of Iowa native talent that Wakenight is very much familiar with.

“I think everybody has some really good kids,” he said. “It’ll be a very balanced meet but the talent that we have on our team I think will be competitive in every event we race.”


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