Women’s track competes in Big Tens

JAKE KRZECZOWSKI

The Iowa women’s track and field team will leave for Columbus, Ohio, on Friday to compete in the outdoor Big Ten championships, wrapping up the second half of the 2009 campaign.

The Hawkeyes will try to improve their last-place finish at the indoor championships in February.

“We have the same difficulties as the indoor season,” Iowa head coach Layne Anderson said. “A lot of empty events.”

Iowa will only be taking 19 of the possible 34 athletes to the meet, but Anderson isn’t worried about the team he has assembled.

“I think the people we are bringing have performed their best all season,” he said.

With finals this week, the stress of studying and test-taking overcoming their day-to-day routine is not lost on the women.

Anderson doesn’t like to overload his athletes with the strains of a strict training schedule, instead opting for a less authoritarian approach.

“We’re just trying to get through the week as relaxed as possible,” he said. “We try to give them more freedom this week to get everything sorted out.”

After taking a week off to get themselves ready for the hectic week, Iowa should be more than ready to compete at a high level.

Since the meet venues shifted to the outdoors, several stars have emerged for Anderson’s squad. Sophomore Karessa Farley has performed spectacularly all season, and this weekend’s meet will be a chance for her to avenge her fall in the 100-meter hurdles at the indoor championships.

“If she stays on her feet, Karessa will be a force to be reckoned with,” said Anderson.

Assistant coach Clive Roberts said the biggest thing that Farley can do to improve on her race earlier this year is to simply “keep her cool.”

She has done just that this season, and her confidence has grown with each race. Going into the Drake Relays, she had no doubt in her abilities.

“Going into the race, I felt pretty confident, as though I should win,” Farley said.

Farley won’t be the only one eyeing a big weekend. Sophomore Hannah Roeder has worked hard all season, and that showed in her gutsy run in the steeplechase at the Drake Relays, which she took fifth in despite a nasty fall over the first barrier.

The middle- and long-distance portion of the team will play a large part of the team’s success yet again, with freshmen Betsy Flood, McKenzie Melander, and junior Jolly Burke being looked to for some points.

Renee White, a standout throughout the outdoor season, has a chance to place in the long and triple jumps, as does fellow field-event competitor Mandy Chandler in the throws.

Minnesota took the indoor title in Bloomington, Ind., followed closely by Penn State and Michigan. This weekend, the Hawkeyes will try to work their way up the leaderboard, gaining some respect along the way.

The Hawkeyes know that to earn that respect they will have to get through the tough finals week and focus on the task at hand.

“It’s going to take a better effort to get ourselves in a better position,” Anderson said.

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