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2014 Preview: Iowa State Menís Cross Country

Courtesy: cyclones.com
Release: 08/06/2014
         
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AMES, Iowa - The Iowa State men’s cross country team brings a new look to the course this season, returning just seven members from the 2013 roster and four from the starting seven. The season will be the program’s second under director of track and field and cross country Martin Smith and his staff.

The Cyclones are coming off of their highest team finish in Big 12 championship history after finishing second at last season’s conference meet. The second-place finish also moved the team into the national rankings at No. 24 following the meet.

Under Smith, the Cyclones employed a pack-style race strategy in 2013, often running splits of less than 1 minute between the 2-5 scoring runners and occasionally running sub-25 second spreads.

The Cyclones first meet of the year is set for Aug. 29 at the Bulldog 4K Classic in Des Moines, Iowa. Racing is scheduled to start at 5:00 p.m. CT.

Key Returners: Martin Coolidge, Edward Kemboi, Brian Llamas and Tyler Jermann

Four members of the 2013 varsity squad are back in the lineup in Martin Coolidge, Edward Kemboi, Brian Llamas and Tyler Jermann. Coolidge performed consistently as the team’s No. 2 finisher last year and will have the opportunity to shine in 2014 as the Cyclones’ top returner. Kemboi, a middle-distance specialist on the track, finished as high as third on the team, scoring key points for the Cyclones at the Big 12 Championship. Llamas and Jermann will look to move up within the top-7 this season. Llamas was a scoring runner in each of his races, while Jermann also cracked the Cyclones’ top-5.

Keep an eye on Jason Thomas, an Iowa prep standout from the 2013 recruiting class. Thomas is coming off of a redshirt season in 2014 and will be a strong contender for a varsity spot.

Key Departures: Mohamed Hrezi

Hrezi became the first member of the men’s team to earn All-America honors since 2008 last season, notching the highest individual finish (24th) since 1995. Hrezi graduated last spring and is currently a member of the Hansons-Brooks Distance Project.

Key Additions: Matt Bevil, Brian Biekert, Chris Webb and Brandon Wheat

The Cyclones signed four transfers to the roster in Bevil, Biekert, Webb and Wheat. Biekert is a Northeast Conference champion steeplechaser and was an all-conference performer in cross country while at Central Connecticut State. Webb and Wheat were previously teammates at Paradise Valley Community College. Both were standout competitors, earning top-5 finishes at the NJCAA track and field championships in their respective events. Bevil comes to Iowa State from Brown University, where he was a middle-distance standout and an all-conference competitor, specializing in the 800m.

Newcomers: Josef Andrews, Dan Curts, Josh Evans, Toby Hardwick, Nolan McKenna and Nathan Rodriguez

The incoming recruiting class is one of the strongest in the nation, featuring three Footlocker All-Americans in Andrews, Curts and Hardwick. The class brings in numerous state titles and multiple national accolades. Andrews, Curts and Evans each garnered Gatorade Athlete of the Year recognition in their high school careers.


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 Championships Terre Haute, Ind.
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