Three Seniors To Finish Cyclone Careers Together
AMES, Iowa – Three accomplished Iowa State distance runners will be competing for their final time as Cyclones this week at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Eugene, Ore. Betsy Saina, Dani Stack and Meaghan Nelson will all be runing in the women’s 10,000-meter finals, while Saina will also run in the 5,000-meter finals.
While the triumvirate of redshirt seniors agrees that it is sad to be racing together for the final time, they could not be happier about the advantage of having two teammates in the race.
“When you step out on the track and see three Iowa State jerseys out there, it kind of intimidates people,” Stack said. “We run together every day and we’re around each other every day. I think that definitely plays to our advantage. It’s exciting, and I think it goes to show how much work Iowa State has put in and how much (head coach Corey Ihmels) really knows what he’s doing.”
Saina, who figures to be one of the favorites in the 10,000-meter field, will be wrapping up a wildly successful Cyclone career that includes a 5,000-meter indoor national championship in 2011-12 and a cross country national championship in 2012. The Eldoret, Kenya, native expressed how important it was to her to run with her Iowa State teammates one more time.
“The three of us have come a long way together,” Saina said. “We have been through a lot of stuff as a group. There have been times that we cried together when things didn’t go well. It’s really exciting to have them in the race.”
While each of them is running her own race, the selflessness of this group was on display when both Stack and Nelson expressed how much it would mean to them to see Saina go out on top.
“Betsy has a good shot of winning it so that’s always really encouraging,” Nelson said. “It’ll be neat to see her put it out there and see what she can do. It’s always nice to have two teammates in your race and it’s great to have people there to encourage you.”
They also know that having teammates in your corner can give them all an added lift, as they chase All-America status.
“We have the leading 10k runner in the nation, so we kind of know what she’s going to be planning on doing and how she wants to race,” Stack said of Saina. “No one else really knows, so that will play to our advantage in deciding how we want to race off of her.”
As Saina reflected on her time at Iowa State, she said that just as it has been with all the running she’s done over her career, the most important part is how you finish.
“For the last two weeks, I’ve been thinking about it and I really can’t believe it’s almost done,” Saina said. “It’s the last time I will be running with my Iowa State group with me. It’s just one of those days that you hope you finish really well. It’s going to bring a lot of good memories to me. I just want to finish smiling and wishing that I could still be here at Iowa State. I just want to be able to finish at the top to keep my memories that way.”Nelson, Saina and Stack will be competing in the 10,000 meter final at 9:10 p.m. CST on Wednesday. Saina will run in the 5,000 meter final on Friday at 8:15 p.m.