Women’s track looks ahead


After months of strenuous training and competing filled with many highs and lows, the Iowa women’s track and field team’s 2009 campaign ended with the conclusion of the NCAA outdoor championships on June 13.

The third day of competition in Fayetteville, Ark., saw two of Iowa’s three entries, sophomore Karessa Farley and senior Renee White finish in 17th and 14th places in their respective events. Farley, who placed sixth in the 60-meter hurdles at the NCAA indoor championships, was unable to repeat the All-American performance.

White, meanwhile, capped an impressive senior outdoor season in which she shattered the Big Ten and Iowa school record in the triple jump with a monstrous performance at the Big Ten championships, where she jumped 43-103⁄4 for the conference title. The jump ranked 10th in the nation.

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson was pleased with the way his squad responded after a last-place finish in the Big Ten indoor meet. Even though the Hawkeyes didn’t manage to get themselves out of the last place in the Big Ten during the outdoor portion of the season, there were plenty of good things to find.

“I felt the outdoor season was better overall, just not quite at NCAAs,” Anderson said. “We got a little more experience and a little more comfortable in each event.”

The entire team did better during the second half of the season, he said, and there was no one athlete he could single out as being the only improved one of the bunch.

“It’s hard to pinpoint any one person because I felt we really did get better across the board,” he said.

The important thing going forward for Iowa will be to build off the base of solid young talent it has in its favor. Those such as Farley, freshmen Betsy Flood and McKenzie Melander, and sophomores Hannah Roeder and Bethany Praska will be catalysts for the team.

The Hawkeyes will miss White and fellow seniors Racheal Marchand and Mandy Chandler, who brought a lot to the team (in Chandler’s case, the entire throwing squad).

“I will definitely miss my past head coach and bonding with the team,” White said after four years at Iowa.

The Hawks will have a very good chance to replace the losses with their recruiting class, which, between transfers and new freshmen, will be large. Headlining the class is graduate transfer student Megan Lessard from Columbia.

“She is someone who can come to our program or any program in the country and be an All-American right away,” Anderson said. “We’ll definitely have some weapons to work with going into next season.”

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