The Iowa Youth Movement

Sept. 14, 2005

IOWA CITY, IA – Enthusiasm. Confidence. Motivation.

Any other coach would list upper classmen as an ingredient needed for a successful season. Not women’s Cross Country Coach Layne Anderson.

“I’m enthusiastic so I look for people who mirror my enthusiasm and my passion. I look for girls who have lofty goals. Those things are as important as a fast mile.”

Luckily for Anderson, the girls on the cross country team have all that, plus they’re fast. Despite having 13 underclassmen and only two seniors, the team looks to improve upon its best record in 11 years.

“Our goal is to be in the top five of the Big Ten, and I think we can get there if we continue to work,” said Anderson.

It doesn’t hurt to have some of the best runners since the 1980s come through the Iowa program either. Sophomores Meghan Armstrong and Racheal Marchand and freshman Krista Anderson are already being compared to such Iowa greats as Nan Doak and Tracy Dahl.

Krista Anderson is in the classification of the student-athletes from the 1980s. Meghan Armstrong has all the tools physically and mentally. Racheal Marchand is right there. They are all right there at the fringe. Now, will if they continue to apply themselves over the next couple years?”

If last year was any indication of the future, Iowa will soon be one of the powerhouses in cross country.

Armstrong, a 2004 letter winner, was named Big Ten Cross Country Runner of the Week September 7 for her record setting time in the 3,000 meter race at Iowa’s Ashton Cross Country Course. In high school she was a four-time first team all-state and won three state and four district titles in 1,500 and 3,000 meters.

Sophomore Racheal Marchand was part of the 2004 Hawkeye team that earned its highest finish at the Big Ten Championships (7th place) since 1993.

Marchand, who competed in five out of six races last year, finished sixth at the Hawkeye Open on September 2. In high school she was an all-American and placed 10th at the Footlocker National meet her senior year.

A five-time 3,200 meter state champion, Anderson was a three-time all-American and was North Dakota’s female Gatorade track and field athlete of the year twice.

While still learning the ropes of how to compete in the Big Ten, these Hawkeye stand-outs have discovered what it takes to be successful. When asked what motivated her, Marchand was quick to respond.

“My coach and teammates. I wouldn’t be as good if I wasn’t pushed so hard. My teammates and coach keep me going.”

Meghan Armstrong knows what it takes to grow stronger, despite her solid freshman year and good start this season.

“I think about the success I had last year and I’ve set my goals higher to achieve better things. I need to do all the little things to get better.”

“Our goal is to be in the top five of the Big Ten, and I think we can get there if we continue to work.”
Head Coach Layne Anderson

Whatever their reason for being here, the Hawkeyes have what Coach Anderson is looking for: passion for the sport and motivation.

“If you don’t have passion and motivation in this sport, you’ll fall short. In January when it’s cold, you have to be motivated for more than a scholarship or a t-shirt or because your parents want you to be here.”

Enthusiasm. Confidence. Motivation.

Sounds like it will be a good season after all.

By Jennifer Bissell, Iowa Sports Information