Hawkeyes Place Third at NCAA Regional

Nov. 15, 2003

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Stillwater, OK – The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams earned top ten finishes at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship today on the campus of Oklahoma State. The men’s team finished third with 129 team points while the women finished ninth with 283 team points.

Sophomores Brian Rae and Matt Esche led the Hawkeyes in the men’s 10,000-meter race. Rae was Iowa’s top finishing individual for the second time this season. The Naperville, IL, native finished the course in 31:19, the 17th fastest time in school history. Esche finished in the top ten for the second time in as many years by completing the course in 31:26, tenth overall. The Waukesha, WI, native finished fifth at the 2002 Midwest Regional.

The Hawkeyes finished 51 points behind regional champion and host Oklahoma State. The Cowboys were paced by three top ten competitors, including first place finisher Mindaugas Pukstas. Minnesota placed second for the second straight year. The Gophers finished with 89 team points, nine more the OSU and 30 points ahead of the third-place Hawkeyes.

The defending regional champion Hawkeye men narrowly missed an opportunity to earn an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships by placing third overall. The top two teams in each regional championship earn automatic bids to the NCAA meet in Cedar Falls, IA. Iowa could still receive an at-large invitation to compete at the national meet but will have to wait until Monday to learn its fate. Thirteen at-large selections are distributed to complete the 31-team field.

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