Iowa track and field team set for big meet on the road


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Things are starting to heat up for the Iowa track and field team. The Hawkeyes will begin action in Lincoln, Nebraska, at the Sevigne Husker Invitational today to kick off its first meet of the month.

Both of the previous meets the Hawkeyes competed in this season were single-day tournaments. Because the Husker Invitational is a two-day-long event, Iowa will see for the first time this season exactly what it takes, both mentally and physically, to compete in multi-day meets.

“We’ve been setting them up to be able to handle going back-to back-days, and I think that just comes down to the way we train our athletes,” director of track and field Joey Woody said. “It’s definitely a physical grind to be able to run numerous rounds, but it’s also a mental thing, to be able to really prepare yourself to really move to one event to the next without getting ahead of yourself.”

The Hawks last traveled to Ames for the Big Four Duals on Jan. 24. The men’s team swept the meet (3-0) with wins over Northern Iowa, Drake, and Iowa State, while the women’s team went 2-1. The squad captured 12 event titles, and six athletes landed on the Big Ten’s top performer list.

The team will once again compete on a larger track than it has trained on. Iowa assistant coach Jason Wakenight noted his veterans will be fine on the surface, but the newcomers will have to make some adjustments.

“Nebraska’s got a fantastic facility,” he said. “For some of our younger athletes, it’ll be a challenge to learn how to run on a bank track and try to negotiate some of the turns, but for some of our seasoned veterans, it’s an opportunity to run season bests, if not personal bests on a track that’s built to run faster on.”

So far this season, many of the athletes have yet to compete in their signature events. Woody and the coaches are starting to settle the athletes into their primary events as the indoor season progresses.

“They’ll be in their individual events that will probably be leaning toward when we get to the Big Ten championship,” Woody said.

With that, narrowing down what each athlete will be doing this weekend will set the team up for success when the Big Ten meet arrives.

“We always put a meet such as this during the year a couple weeks out before the Big Ten meet, because the Big Ten meet is not something where we’re trying to figure things out,” Iowa associate head coach Clive Roberts said. “If a kid maybe can’t handle the two-day grind, then now we’ve got some time to fix things and make sure they’re ready to go.”

Wakenight looks forward to one thing going into this weekend’s big event — top time marks.

“We’ve been building up to this point,” he said. “But I feel like now at this point of the season running those individual events, they’re very aware of what it takes to be at the top.”

Iowa will compete alongside more than 20 teams, including numerous Big Ten opponents — Nebraska, Illinois, Maryland, and Minnesota.

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

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