AMES, Iowa – The United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced the preseason regional polls this afternoon. Both Iowa State men’s and women’s teams start the year ranked in the top 10.
The Cyclone women, three-time defending Midwest Regional champions, start the year ranked third, behind Minnesota (first) and Oklahoma State (second). The Cyclones will return key runners in Crystal Nelson, Samantha Bluske, Katy Moen and Colleen Riley, each of whom finished in the top-20 at last year’s Big 12 championship meet. Incoming freshmen Erin Hooker of Fort Collins, Colo. and Bethanie Brown of Waterville, Maine will provide added depth and have an immediate impact on the team as the squad looks to capture its third consecutive conference title, a feat that only Texas Tech has accomplished among current Big 12 members.
Kansas State is the remaining program from the Big 12 named on the Midwest poll, ranking 13th.
Starting the 2013 season ranked eighth in the Midwest, the Iowa State men are coming off a fifth-place finish at the 2012 Big 12 Championships. Top returners Mohamed Hrezi and Alexander Dillenbeck both ran to top-30 finishes at the conference meet and look to improve even further. Brian Llamas, Edward Kemboi and Martin Coolidge have also stepped up over the summer showing strong leadership on the team. Jason Thomas of Des Moines, Iowa and Charlie Joslin-Allen of London, England will hope to contribute an added push for the Cyclones as true freshmen.
Other Big 12 schools ranked on the men’s side of the Midwest Regional include Oklahoma State (first), Kansas (fifth), and Oklahoma (seventh).
For a complete list of rankings across all regions, click here.
The Cyclones will open the 2013 season Friday at the Bulldog 4K Classic.