Track and field races career-bests, Skopec dips under 10 minutes for 3,000 meter

Gabby Skopec and Emma Gordon recorded career-bests at the Hawkeye Invitational this past weekend.


Jenna Galligan

Iowa distance runner Gabby Skopec rounds the corner at the front of the pack in the women’s 3000m run during the fourth annual Larry Wieczorek Invitational at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Friday, Jan 17, 2020.

Lauren Swanson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa track and field team performed at the Hawkeye B1G Invitational last weekend, and its distance squad was no exception.

Iowa track and field director Joey Woody said he was impressed with how his distanced athletes performed at the meet.

“The 3,000 meters was amazing, both men and women had really great PR’s,” Woody said in a release after the invitational. “That’s why I gave [associate head coach of distance] Randy [Hasenbank] the floor at the end of our team meeting. I wanted to let him talk about the distance group because sometimes they don’t get enough recognition for the hard work and progression that they’ve had over this last year.”

Senior Gabby Skopec was one of the many athletes who made it on the career-best list from the meet this weekend.

Skopec competed in the women’s 3,000-meter and raced a time under 10 minutes for the first time in her career, finishing with a time of 9:59.12.

“I definitely felt prepared going into the meet last weekend,” Skopec said. “I was coming off my first weekend off from racing in a month, so I felt fresh and ready to go after a week of training.”

Some athletes prefer to follow the same routine before an event, but Skopec said she prefers not to follow any pre-meet rituals.

RELATED: Iowa track and field rewrites record books at weekend events

“I used to be much more obsessive about that stuff,” Skopec said. “But I’ve found it much easier just to go with the flow because any given trip and race has so many variables that you can spend a lot of mental energy worrying about those things.”

With more competitions approaching, Skopec is hoping to reflect on and improve to be the best racer she can be, especially considering this is her last season as a Hawkeye.

“Reflecting on my race, I definitely want to work on being more aggressive in the middle portion of the race,” Skopec said. “The middle portion is where it is easy to fall off your pace because there are still so many laps left, but I need to have the confidence that I am strong enough to hold the pace.”

Along with Skopec, junior Emma Gordon also earned herself a spot on the career best list at the meet this previous weekend.

In addition to Skopec, Gordon too, ran the women’s 3,000-meter and finished with a time of 10:16.60, which is 10 seconds faster than her previous career best time.

She credited her performance to the coaches and the workouts they are enforcing on their athletes in the week leading up to meets.

“It’s not very fun running on the treadmills,” Gordon said. “But we take what we’ve got. The week leading up to the meet, we did a lot of 200-meter sprints, mini fartlek workouts the day before the race, and we usually lift twice a week.”

The Hawkeyes are set to compete at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio, from Feb. 25-27.