Cyclones Ready for Big 12 Championships
AMES, Iowa – The Iowa State men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to Waco, Texas Saturday to compete in the 2013 Big 12 Championships. The meet will be hosted by Baylor at the Cottonwood Golf Course.
The Iowa State women enter the meet as the top-ranked team in the Midwest region and No. 8 in the nation as named by the United State Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The Cyclones are the two-time defending Big 12 champion and look to join Texas Tech (2008-10) as the only current conference members to win three consecutive league titles.
Iowa State women’s cross country head coach Andrea Grove-McDonough believes the team is ready for the challenge ahead.
“We’re feeling good about our workouts and peaking at the right time,” Grove-McDonough said. “I have a lot of faith in our fitness as a team. This is a business trip. We’re going to go to Texas, run for the Big 12 title and continue our work towards the NCAA Championships.”
The squad is coming off a great performance at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, placing fifth and defeating three of the nation’s top-10 teams in No. 4 Washington, No. 7 New Mexico and No. 10 San Francisco. Crystal Nelson ran to a tenth place finish, with Perez Rotich (28th) and Bethanie Brown (32nd) also finishing in the top-35.
Iowa State is the lone nationally ranked program from the Big 12.
The Cyclone men have continued their ascent in the USTFCCCA weekly regional polls and are currently the No. 4 ranked team in the Midwest behind Oklahoma State, Tulsa and Oklahoma.
Cyclone men’s head cross country coach Martin Smith has been pleased with the amount of work the squad has put in leading up to the conference meet.
“The team has had three weeks of very consistent and productive training since the Paul Short Run,” Smith said. “There has been a definite improvement in our fitness and our athletes have a better understanding of what we are trying to achieve in our training system. I have been very happy with how they have adapted to the increased workloads without breaking down and keeping a very positive attitude towards the hard work.”
The men last competed Oct. 5 at the Lehigh Paul Short Run, where the team placed fifth. Seniors Mohamed Hrezi (22nd) and Martin Coolidge (26th) paced the Cyclones, who ran the tightest spread (25 seconds) of all teams finishing in the top-15 at the meet.
“The team is definitely excited and looking forward to competing,” Smith said. “They understand the importance of the weekend and look forward to the challenge of improving on their performance from a year ago.”
The Iowa State men finished fifth at last year’s conference championships.
The men’s race is slated to start at 10:00 a.m. CT, with the gun firing for the women’s race at 11:00 p.m.
Last Time Out
The No. 8 Iowa State women’s cross country team is coming off a fifth place finish at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The Cyclones were led by Crystal Nelson’s tenth place finish and were one of four teams to place four runners in the top 60 and record a top-10 finisher. Iowa State defeated three top-10 opponents in No. 4 Washington, No. 7 New Mexico and No. 10 San Francisco.
The men’s team last competed Oct. 5 at the Lehigh Paul Short Invitational, finishing fifth. Cyclone seniors Mohamed Hrezi and Martin Coolidge led the squad finishing 22nd and 26th. Iowa State ran as a pack during the race, recording the tightest spread (25 seconds) across the meet’s top-15 teams. Only Duquesne (22 seconds) ran a tighter group that the Cyclones.