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Iowa track and field have tough time in Ohio

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | MARCH 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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On Feb. 24, sprints coach Clive Roberts said his athletes were “focused and ready to get after it” heading into the Big Ten indoor meet in Geneva, Ohio.

The expectations were certainly high; however, the Iowa women’s track and field team could not match the level of competition. The athletes finished last of the 13 teams and scored only 22 points.  
With this, Roberts believes the team and the coaching effort was subpar.

“I didn’t do my job. It’s just that simple,” he said. “When it’s one or two kids who don’t perform, maybe it’s the kid, but I kind of felt like I have to look at myself first and be better. I have to be a better coach.”

In addition to its last-place finish, the squad dropped five spots, and finished with 27.5 points fewer than it did last year at the conference meet.

“It’s not like we didn’t put up some good marks, but it was just not good enough to score a lot of big points as we expected,” Iowa Director of Track and Field Joey Woody said.

The director noted some of the athletes’ performances in Ohio weren’t what he observed in the early stages of the indoor season.

“Everybody else brought their ‘A’ game, we didn’t, and that was the difference,” he said. “I felt confident in some of our ladies who were already ranked pretty high in their individual events, and unfortunately, they weren’t able to get to that next level.”

The team’s effort at the conference meet may be a surprise to many, as they earned a number of personal records and even wins in the regular indoor season.

Sophomore Elexis Guster, who took fourth in the women’s 400 with a time of 53.92, said the conference meet was bad timing to have a bad race.

“Usually, we don’t have bad races, and I felt like all of us just had a really bad day,” Guster said. “We had the ability to do something great, but it just didn’t work out in our favor.”

The Atlanta native believes underperforming at the conference meet has made her teammates and herself eager for the outdoor season.

“Everything happens for a reason,” she said. “This just makes us more hungry to go out there for the outdoor season and focus on what we really need to work on to be an elite team.”

Now that the indoor season has come to a close, Roberts doesn’t want his athletes to put what occurred in Ohio past them. With the first outdoor meet of the season coming up, their training is fierce.

“I told them, ‘Hey, we can’t forget about the Big Ten meet, but we can learn from it, move on outdoors, and really try to just be better,” he said. “We’re getting back to the grind and just working, and pushing our volume up a little bit more. We’re just going to work; that’s the only way we know.”

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


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