Bluske, Gannon and Moen Named Team Captains
AMES, Iowa – The title of captain is an honor given to members of a team that best exemplify the quality of leadership amongst peers. Being named captain is revered by many and the holder of the title is often seen as the face of the program. This year, for the first time in recent history, the Iowa State women’s cross country team selected team captains in Samantha Bluske, Maggie Gannon and Katy Moen.
Women’s head cross country coach Andrea Grove-McDonough sees the title as one of prestige and responsibility.
“I wanted to give them label for their leadership,” McDonough said. “They need to exhibit leadership on the course, in practice and everywhere else. I have always thought the title is an honor on a team and that it affects their demeanor in a positive way.”
A fifth-year senior, Bluske is the Cyclones most experienced runner. Last season, she earned All-Big 12 and All-Midwest Region honors last season by placing ninth and 18th, respectively. The Chaseburg, Wis. native also earned first team Academic All-Big 12 recognition and All-Big 12 accolades in the 5,000-meter run. Bluske is very honored to don the title of captain.
“The team means so much to each of us,” Bluske said. “When the coaching situation changed, the three of us really stepped it up and made sure that our team stuck together.”
Gannon, a junior from Burlington, Ill., stepped into her new leadership role, recognizing that the team would benefit from a familiar face amidst the new coaching staff and talent graduated from last year’s squad. To Gannon, a three-time All-Big 12 honoree in track (1,500m and 1,000m run), the title means a responsibility as a mentor to the younger runners on the team. A responsibility she will welcome with open arms.
“It’s especially important this year, with all the changes going on,” Gannon said. “Our team is very young, and having the title of captain gives those girls who are younger someone to look up to and come to with questions.”
Cyclone junior Katy Moen established herself as one of Iowa State’s most consistent runners last season. Moen garnered All-Big 12 honors and finished 26th at the Midwest Regional. A two-time Academic All-Big 12 first teamer and three-time All-Big 12 runner, the Fairbank, Iowa, native is excited to be a part of a new tradition at Iowa State.
“It’s a big honor because we’ve never had captains before,” Moen said. “It gives a name for someone to look up to and come to as a resource. It’s an honor to all of us.”