By Cody Goodwin
The Iowa women’s track and field team has faced some tough competition over the last two weekends, but the coaching staff believes facing the best teams in the country allows young athletes to gain valuable experience.
That experience will prove most useful this coming weekend, when the Hawkeyes will leave Iowa City for the third-straight week. But this weekend will be a bit unusual for Iowa, as the whole team won’t be going to the same city to compete.
The Hawkeyes will be attending two different meets, the New Balance Invitational in New York City and the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The New Balance Invite will be held at the Armory Track and Field Center, while the Meyo Invite will take place at the Loftus Center on Notre Dame’s campus.
While the coaches haven’t split up the team yet this year, they said they’re looking forward to a change of pace and that this weekend will be good for the athletes.
“Once and a while, we might do this where we take different kids to different events,” assistant coach Scott Cappos said. “It’s an opportunity to experience a different lifestyle than what you just have in Iowa. I think that’s part of the fun, too.”
Cappos said he’d only take some of his throwers to New York City, and that the entire coaching staff took time to figure out which athletes would be attending which events this coming weekend.
Cappos will bring six athletes with him to the New Balance Invite: Annemie Smith, Jasmine Simpson, Ashlyn Guvas, and Majesty Tutson, and men’s throwers Ryan Lamparek and Matt Banse.
Head coach Layne Anderson selected only a few of his distance runners to attend the Meyo Invite at Notre Dame. Mareike Schrulle, Megan Renegar, Katherin Rehn, Jackie Laesch, McKenzie Melander, Brooke Eilers, and Danielle Berndt will be competing in the 3,000-meter race. Betsy Flood will attend the Meyo Invite for the mile race, and Ashley Liverpool will see her first action of the season at Notre Dame; the sophomore will race in the 400-meter run.
The only male to compete at Notre Dame this weekend is Jeff Thode, who will run the mile.
The main reason for only runners attending the Meyo Invite is because of the track size at Notre Dame, assistant coach Christi Smith said.
“A lot of the distance runners want to be on the 300-meter track,” Smith said. “It’ll help with faster times. I think it’s just contingent on the facility and the type of meet … as for picking which athletes go where, it all depends on what that certain event coach needs to get done.”
Since some of the team won’t leave Iowa City this weekend, assistant coach Clive Roberts said his group of athletes — the sprinters and a few jumpers — will stay home, rest, and continue to train hard for out-of-town competition next weekend. All of the coaches agreed this “downtime” will be good after traveling on back-to-back weekends.
“Some of our athletes need to fix some things, and this weekend will be the perfect time to get that done,” Roberts said. “It’s all about practice.”