Unpleasant weather awaits track at Iowa Twilight

first_imgJEFF SCHORFHEIDE/Herald photoAs the Wisconsin men’s track and field team warmed up for practice Thursday, what started as a promising day of sun and mild temperatures morphed into a gray, overcast chill. It has been that kind of season for the Badgers, who have traveled near and far and performed impressively but cannot seem to escape unpleasant weather.“Guys are competing well, but we haven’t had a whole lot of breaks with the weather,” head coach Ed Nuttycombe said. “It has been a weather-challenging outdoor season.”As the Badgers prepare to travel to Iowa for the Iowa Twilight meet Saturday, the threat of rain and cold temperatures led Nuttycombe to alter his itinerary for the event. As a result, relatively few athletes will make the trip.“The weather has been chilly, particularly in Iowa,” Nuttycombe said. “I think we were hoping to get more done than is realistic.”The Badgers have not been confined to the unpredictable Midwest, however. It seems wherever the team goes, difficult conditions follow.“We’ve been traveling all over the country,” Nuttycombe said.  “It has led to a frustrating spring, because it has not just been this way in the Midwest but everywhere.  We’ve traveled to Clemson, Auburn [and] Tennessee and faced the same thing.”Nuttycombe and his players agree the weather affects different athletes in different ways, depending on the event and the specific conditions at the time.“[The impact] really varies,” senior captain Peter Dykstra said. “Throwing a discus into a wet ring is really difficult. We’ve run into lots of cold weather, which makes it tough to warm up and easy to get muscle injuries.”“Obviously a sprinter running with the wind is less affected than a mid-distance runner who has to run the whole oval,” Nuttycombe explained. “But overall, a windy, rainy, cool day doesn’t help anybody.”Weather concerns aside, Nuttycombe anticipates a worthwhile experience for the athletes competing in Iowa this weekend.“The competition will be good,” he said. “Iowa, Northern Iowa, Drake and Minnesota will be there. They are all very good, solid teams. A lot of good athletes will be there.”Dykstra plans to use this weekend as a barometer of how well he is recovering from some nagging injuries.“I have kind of been slowed down by a few injuries, and it’s been hard catching up,” he said. “My goal is to be able to go 100 percent because I know that’s how I’ll need to compete in the Big Ten [Championships].”While Nuttycombe doesn’t expect any records to fall Saturday, he does believe the team will perform solidly, particularly in some of the field events.“I anticipate strong performances in the sense of competing well,” he said. “[Rory] Linder in the discus and Rob Dehn in the javelin should do well. On the track, it depends on the conditions.”Although it is hard to tell by looking at the weather, the Badgers are at the point in the year when they start to think about postseason competition. They host the Wisconsin Twilight meet on the McClimon Track in Madison next weekend and then head to Champaign for the Big Ten Championships.Neither Nuttycombe nor his players are trying to mask their excitement for these important events.“We very much look forward to the outdoor home meet,” Nuttycombe said. “We are definitely entering the championship part of the season.”Dykstra feels the team is hitting its stride just in time to make a deep postseason run.“We have had some guys get regional qualifying marks, and we’re getting ready for the Big Ten [Championships],” he said. “We were an underdog entering the conference in the indoor season, and I think we’ll be in that position again. The competition is really tight. It’s nice to see everyone peaking at the right time.”Even if the weather isn’t joining them.last_img

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