An All-American the past two seasons in the outdoor 4 x 100-meter relay, IU junior sprinter Ara Towns traveled to New York City to compete in the prestigious Millrose Games at Madison Square Garden. Towns was one of seven collegiate athletes invited to run in the 60-meter dash.\nOf the six other athletes comprising the college 60-meter dash field, five were from colleges located in East Coast states, while the other was Big Ten foe Connie Moore from Penn State who just edged Towns to take second in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.52 to Towns' 7.53 third-place finish.\nTowns set her personal record in the 60-meter dash at the Big Ten Championship last season in the finals when she finished third with a time of 7.39 seconds. Just this past weekend, Towns set a new PR in the 200-meter dash at the Tyson Foods Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark., when she ran 24.37 seconds.\nAs the only IU athlete to compete in the meet, Towns traveled with IU graduate assistant coach Stevie Dalton, which did not allow Towns to be in her normal element of competing with her teammates and coaches surrounding her.\n"It was a nice experience to be able to see how it is to run on your own and still be motivated and focus," Towns said. "It was tough, but at the same time it was a good experience just to see how it is to run against some of the best runners on the East Coast and to see the professionals run."\nTowns was not the only American female sprinter with some notoriety participating in the meet. The Millrose Games also marked the return of American sprinter Marion Jones to competition, after Jones took a year off to have a child. Jones won the professional 60-meter dash event.\nIU coach Randy Heisler said the team would have liked Towns to run faster but felt the experience will pay off for the future.\n"It's the first time for her to be out there by herself and in those surroundings," Heisler said. "Any athletes that we have that get an opportunity to do something like that, it only helps them, which in turn helps our program. When she's on the track and lined up with the best runners in the country, and Marion Jones is running in the next race, it takes some of the shock that some of our athletes sometimes go through when they go to their first Big Ten meet or NCAAs."\nIU sprinting coach Ed Beathea said he is happy with the actual result of the race, but said Towns can run faster.\n"We were hoping that she would go out at 10 o'clock at night and run a little bit fast, but I think it is difficult to do that," Beathea said.\nTowns said she is happy with the times she has produced thus far in the season and can use the experience from Madison Square Garden to improve for the remainder of the indoor season.\n"(I want to) stay focused and concentrate on running the whole race," Towns said. "That's all -- just to run the clock, and no one else, because you never know what could happen."\n-- Contact staff writer Steve Slivka at firstname.lastname@example.org.
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