Practice down for Iowa track and field as Big Ten Championships draws nearer


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The Big Ten indoor championships are quickly approaching, and the track and field Hawkeyes are doing all it can to prepare for the event. 

In order to create competition-like situations for the athletes, coaches are attempting to keep the volume down while raising the intensity of practice.

“We’re not going to be practicing and doing a lot of repetitions, but everything we do is going to be closer and closer to the race paces that we expect to feel in the next couple of weeks,” mid-distance and relays coach Jason Wakenight said. 

The Hawks have been pushing themselves to the limits, more so to see what they can handle mentally rather than physically. 

“If [Coach Clive Roberts] gives us a really hard workout, and we successfully do it, it’s a confidence builder. Like, ‘I just did this hard workout, so that means I can run this time in the 400 and stand up and just come home,’ ” Elexis Guster said. “Yeah, it sucks, but it helps us more than it hurts us.”

Guster’s most difficult workout of the season came Tuesday. She said it hurt so bad she wanted to cry, but finishing it was a relief and a boost to her mentality.

After a rigorous day on Tuesday, the coaching staff will start to relax practice a bit so the Hawkeyes can rest up before the Big Tens. 

“The last little bit before the Big Tens is just going to be a tune-up, making sure the kids are rested and good and just feeling sharp,” Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said. 

Sophomore Mahnee Watts sees the final practice days as especially important to set the team up for success. With numerous athletes not making the finals at the Big Ten meet last year, many are working even harder to help out the team.

“I know a lot of people want to do something big. They want to go there and score some points for the team, me included,” Watts said. “We all want to just go there and leave everything on the track. We don’t want to have any regrets.”

As the competition approaches, those headed to Geneva, Ohio, are growing more and more anxious — but in a good way. After putting up numerous personal bests in both Arkansas and Ames on Feb. 13-14, the team is excited to see what it can do at the end of the indoor season. 

“Now that we know where we’re at, we know what we can reach,” Guster said. “I really think that all of us are pretty excited for the week to come.”

Wakenight also noted the success in Arkansas and Ames as something that has given the Hawkeyes a bright outlook for the Big Ten meet. 

“I think that everyone is pretty excited,” the first year coach said. “A lot of people had nice meets this past weekend, so seeing where we were about to go and what was about to happen has given practice a pretty good vibe.”

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

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