BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI | FEBRUARY 27, 2009 7:30 AM
Leading up to a championship meet, it is a given that coaches would stress to their athletes about good technique and taking care of their bodies.
Iowa women’s track and field head coach Layne Anderson has added confidence to the list of things needed to prepare his team for this weekend’s Big Ten indoor championships in Bloomington, Ind.
“We’ve been looking at the season as a whole, just really reflecting on the successes we’ve had,” Anderson said.
There has been plenty to reflect on. Since the beginning of the season on Jan. 17, the team has competed well, with almost everyone on the team earning a personal best in her event.
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One of those top performers, senior Mandy Chandler, feels her best performances are still to come after a great meet a week ago at the Iowa Invitational.
“I feel like I’ve been training well and peaking at the right time.” Chandler said. “It’d be great to beat some people who have finished higher than me in the past.”
Sophomore Bethany Praska went to the Big Ten meet last year and feels more relaxed going into the weekend.
“I definitely know what to expect with the atmosphere and everything else that goes along with a meet like that,” Praska said.
Someone who will feel right at home this weekend is senior Renee White, last year’s Big Ten indoor triple jump champion. By winning last year White became one of 30 Big Ten champions in Iowa’s history.
When asked about the meet, White was cool and collected.
“I trust my preparation, and I trust my coach, and I’m just excited to see what the team and I do this weekend,” she said.
The Hawkeyes have traditionally done well at the championships, finishing as high as third as a team in 2004.
This year, Iowa hopes to add a few more names to that list of champions and have a good chance with such runners as senior Racheal Marchand and sophomore Karessa Farley performing well in their events lately and being well rested after not competing Feb. 20 at the home meet.
Joining those two will be 16 other Hawkeyes, all of whom make Anderson feel confident himself.
“We’re excited about the 18 we’re taking,” Anderson said. “They’ve put themselves in a position to compete well.”
Anderson and his staff have been doing all they can to ensure that those going perform as well as they can.
“We’re doing everything we can to give them a boost of confidence.” Anderson said.
Now coming into the biggest meet of the season, the Hawkeyes have been focused, enjoying the light workouts before heading to Bloomington on Thursday.
While confidence is an important component, the athletes still have to run their races and Anderson knows this.
“We’ll see where we’re at when we load up the bus on Sunday to come home,” he said.