BY JAKE KRZECZOWSKI | FEBRUARY 23, 2009 7:30 AM
On a night when the Iowa women’s track and field seniors were honored, two led the way in the Hawkeyes’ first-place finish at the Iowa Invitational on Feb. 20 against Augustana, Bradley, Coe, North Central, and Simpson.
Seniors Mandy Chandler and Renee White won their events. Chandler claimed victories in the weight throw with a collegiate-best toss of 54-041⁄2 and the shot put with a throw of 42-09. White won the 60-meter hurdles with a season-best time of 8.60.
“I’m just trying to get my technique down and my times down, so that when I go to the Big Tens, I’m in a position to score points for my team,” White said.
Joining in on the Senior Night festivities was former Hawkeye All-American Peaches Roach, who won both the long jump and 60-meter dash in convincing fashion.
Also basking in the spotlight were the Iowa underclassmen. Sophomore Amanda Hardesty won the mile with a time of 5:05.26, her best time this season.
Freshman Betsy Flood continued the youth trend by winning the 600 meters with a time of 1:36.22, followed by a cluster of five Hawkeyes who claimed the top-five spots in the event, all with collegiate bests.
With most of the more seasoned veterans sitting the meet out, the young corps of Iowa was able to have a chance to shine.
Senior Racheal Marchand, junior Rhonda-Kaye Trusty, and sophomores Karessa Farley and Bethany Praska all took a break from competition on Feb. 20 in order to concentrate on next weekend’s Big Ten championships.
“The bulk of our scorers sat out,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “For a lot of the kids, it was a chance to take another step forward in their career.”
With the final home meet out of the way, the Hawkeyes are now looking forward to the Big Ten championships, which will take place next weekend in Bloomington, Ind.
They will spend time building on the things they’ve done all season. The team will stay in what Anderson calls its “maintenance mode” all through this week in preparation for a strong showing in Bloomington.
“The most important thing is to stay in the routine we’ve been in all year,” he said. “The work is done. This week is all about fine-tuning.”