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2014 Preview: Iowa State Women’s Cross Country

Courtesy: cyclones.com
Release: 08/07/2014
         
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AMES, Iowa - The Iowa State women’s cross country team is set to begin its second season under head coach Andrea Grove-McDonough. The Cyclones return many familiar faces to the 2014 roster from last year’s Big 12 Championship squad.

The team returns five runners from a 2013 varsity squad that ranked as high as No. 7 nationally and included two All-Americans, four All-Region honorees and four All-Big 12 performers. The Cyclones ended 2013 with a 13th-place finish at the 2013 NCAA Championships and captured their third-consecutive Big 12 title. They will look to capture their fourth in 2014 and become the only current Big 12 member to win four-straight conference crowns.

The Cyclones also brought in promising talent from both the transfer and high school markets, ensuring plenty of competition for varsity spots.

Grove-McDonough preached ‘relaxed-focus’ to her student-athletes in 2013, a concept that was widely accepted and readily embraced. The Cyclones will continue to run under that concept in 2014 as the team looks to work its way back into the nation’s top-10 and qualify for a sixth-consecutive NCAA Championships.

August 29 marks the team’s season opener, as the Cyclones will head to Des Moines, Iowa to compete in the Bulldog 4K Classic in Des Moines, Iowa.

Key Returners: Crystal Nelson, Bethanie Brown, Katy Moen, Perez Rotich and Maggie Gannon

The women’s squad boasted multiple All-Americans for the 13th time in program history in 2013 in Crystal Nelson and Bethanie Brown, both returning to the lineup along with All-Big 12 performers Katy Moen and Perez Rotich.

Nelson was named the 2013 Midwest Regional Runner of the Year after taking the individual title at the regional championship. The Winchester, Virginia, native also finished runner-up at the Big 12 Championships.

Brown became the sixth freshman in program history to garner All-America status in 2013 and was named the Big 12’s Newcomer of the Year after a fifth-place finish at the conference championships.

Brown, Moen and Rotich each shuffled throughout the top-5 in 2013. Moen is coming off of a great track season that saw her capture two Big 12 titles (5K and 10K) and an NCAA regional title (10K). The Fairbank, Iowa, native was a two-time NCAA qualifier in 2014, earning second-team All-America status in the 10,000m.

Also returning from last season’s top-7 is Maggie Gannon. Gannon, a miler on the track, will look to be a strong contributor on this year’s roster.

Keep an eye on Erin Hooker, who will be a frontrunner to crack the starting seven after a redshirt year.

Key Departures: Samantha Bluske, Ejiro Okoro

The Cyclones graduated two runners from last year’s varsity squad in Samantha Bluske and Ejiro Okoro. Both runners scored team points at different races last season, leaving holes for new runners to step in and earn a roster spot.

Key Additions: Margaret Connelly and Katherine DeSimone

Iowa State brings in a transfer-duo in Margaret Connelly and Katherine DeSimone, both coming to Ames from Brown University.

Connelly was one of the Bears’ top distance runners. In 2012, she was a competitor at the NCAA Cross Country Championships and an All-Region and all-conference performer. The Chicago, Illinois, native will bring talent and experience to the roster.

DeSimone saw action in the 1,500m and mile at Brown, clocking times of 4:41.09 and 4:49.45 in the events last outdoor season. The Fort Wayne, Indiana, product was also a varsity cross country runner.

Newcomers: Abby Caldwell, Jacqueline Feist, Evelyne Guay, Erin Norton and Olivia Robertson

The incoming freshman class brings in talent from across the nation as well as Canada. Abby Caldwell (Iowa), Erin Norton (Colorado) and Jacqueline Feist (Michigan) bring in reputations as strong high school runners, both on the track and on the course. Canadian newcomers Evelyne Guay and Olivia Robertson represent numerous top-five finishes at the Canadian Provincial High School Championships, as Guay was crowned 800m champion.


2014 Cross Country Schedule

Aug. 29  Bulldog 4K Classic  Des Moines, Iowa
Sep. 27  Roy Griak Invitational  Minneapolis, Minn.
Oct. 17  Wisconsin Adidas Invitational  Madison, Wis.
Nov. 1  Big 12 Championship  Lawrence, Kan.
Nov. 14  NCAA Midwest Regional  Peoria, Ill.
Nov. 22 NCAA Champpionships  Terre Haute, Ind.
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