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Women's track and field prepare to face stronger competitors



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Then-sophomore distance runner Kelsey Harris runs the first leg of the distance medley relay in the Hoosier Hills Invitational on Feb. 10, 2016, in Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse. The IU women’s track and field team pushed boundaries this past weekend as its 4x400-meter relay squad found time to shine at the Indiana University Relays. Bobby Goddin Buy Photos

The Hoosiers have a challenge on their hands this week as they take on 10 teams from power five conferences, four of which are currently ranked in the top 25.

This meet will give the team the opportunity to prove themselves, as they have yet to face top teams like the ones in this invitational. 

“This will be the first time we get to go against big-name schools,” senior Brenna Calder said. “I hope to see the whole team succeed. We had a really good meet across the board last week, so we just want to build on that momentum this week.” 

This week’s opponents will include Baylor, Michigan, Louisville, Duke, Miami, Minnesota, NC State, Stanford, Vanderbilt and Virginia. Ranked teams include No. 11 Minnesota, No. 16 Stanford, No. 17 Michigan and No. 19 Baylor. 

IU was ranked earlier in the season, but have since been knocked back out of the rankings. However, they have put up solid performances against Kentucky and Tennessee in the first weeks of the season, two teams who are now also ranked. 

Although rankings are an edge when competing, IU Coach Ron Helmer said they aren’t everything.

Yet the athletes will be given a new opportunity to succeed, as they face a new race on Friday. This weekend, the distance runners will be participating in the distance medley relay for the first time this season. The DMR consists of a 1200-meter run, 400-meter run, 800-meter run and mile run.

Participating in this event will be Calder, freshman Natalie Price and juniors Kelsey Harris and Katherine Receveur, in that order. 

Harris will be running the 800-meter leg in the event, while Calder will be competing in the 1200-meter leg of the medley. Price will be running the 400-meter leg and Receveur will be running the 1600-meter leg. 

“I think one of the biggest challenges this weekend will definitely be to run a fast time in the distance medley relay to hopefully qualify for nationals since it’s our first shot at it this weekend,” Harris said. “We want to hit that time right off the bat, if we can.” 

“Last week, I jumped down to a lower distance that I don’t do very often, and it went really well,” Calder said. “So it gives me confidence going into the 1200, which is a distance where I have to go out faster than I do for the mile.”

In addition to the DMR, Calder will also be running in the one mile race on Saturday. As for Harris, she’ll also be running the 800. 

“I think that the past couple of weekends, we’ve been on an upward trend, and that the team as a whole is ready to break through,” Harris said. “We’ll hopefully see some really good performances this weekend.”

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