CEDAR FALLS — Since the end of finals in early May, Northern Iowa student-athletes have gotten a little rest and relaxation.
That R&R came to an end Monday.
Across the board, the Panthers began preparing for their 2018-19 seasons in earnest this week.
On the basketball front, that means both the men’s and women’s teams will get four hours of instruction from coaches, plus an additional four hours inside Jed Smith’s weight room.
The four hours of instruction is new this summer for basketball coaches.
“We get them back June 3rd and will start June 4th,” UNI women’s basketball coach Tanya Warren said. “The NCAA ... we had a two-hour where we could have a go with our kids. The NCAA just switched that to now four hours.
“So what we will do is go Tuesday-Thursday and go two-hour practices. We will work on everything that allows us to be a little ahead with our freshmen coming into August. We will have a lot of our offensive and defensive concepts down, which I think will help them.”
Three of UNI’s four incoming women’s recruits are from Cedar Falls — Kamryn Finley, Kiana Barney and Cynthia Wolf. The fourth is point guard Alyssa Iverson of Elgin, Ill., a spring signee.
Two teams nearest to the start of their seasons — football and volleyball — will also be hitting the weight room before preseason drills begin the first week of August.
“We have our prospect camp Monday, or largest camp of the summer,” UNI football coach Mark Farley said. “Tuesday, a majority of our team will begin lifting. All the incoming freshmen will report on the following Sunday because they are finishing up with graduations and things like that.
“We will have at least 90 percent of our team in here by June 4-5.”
For UNI volleyball coach Bobbi Petersen, this summer of workouts will be slightly different for the veteran coach — for the first time in any sport she will be coaching one of her children.
Dike-New Hartford star Baylee Petersen is joining the program after helping lead the Wolverines to three state titles in four years.
“I’m looking forward to having that kind of relationship with Baylee,” Bobbi said. “I know there are some challenges that come with it, too. I feel we have done a good job of talking through some of those things and some of the things to expect and things we are going to have to work through.
“I have done a lot of homework with friends of mine who have maybe coached a daughter or a niece or something along that line. It’s a lot of people who have given me good advice that I will be using.”
Speaking of volleyball and her daughters, Petersen said the groundwork has started to schedule a home and home with national powerhouse Texas in the near future where Baylee’s twin, Sydney, is a freshman and currently is traveling with the Longhorns as part of a European trip.
“I definitely think we will be doing a home-and-home with them, not in 2018, but 2019 and 2020,” Bobbi Petersen said. “We will get a chance to go down there and they will get a chance to come up here, so that will be neat.
“It is kind of funny, at Baylee and Sydney’s graduation party, our strength coach Jed came and I got to read the cards he gave to the girls. To Baylee, it was something like, ‘I can’t wait to work with you here,’ and to Sydney, ‘I can’t wait to see you across the net and us taking care of the Longhorns.’
“So, Jed, is already trying to get that rivalry started. I’m really thankful for Texas to be willing to do that home and away. A program like that really doesn’t have to do that.”