Aug. 29, 2005
THIS WEEK – The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams will open its season when the Hawkeyes host the Hawkeye Open Friday. They will be competing against men’s and women’s squads from Illinois, Wayne State, Northern Iowa, Eastern Illinois, DePaul and Loyola-Chicago. The women’s team will begin its 3K race at 6 p.m. and the men will follow with its 6K race at 6:45 p.m. The competition will take place at the Ashton Cross Country Course.
2005 SEASON OUTLOOK – If the 2004 season was any indication of the state of Iowa’s men’s cross country program, watch out for 2005. Iowa returns almost its entire lineup from 2004, minus team captain Tony Rakaric. The remaining team members bring a wealth of experience to the course, with a combined eight all-region selections between them. Senior Brian Rae, who competed as an individual at the 2003 NCAA Championships, and was an alternate at the 2004 NCAA meet. He will be a strong candidate for Rakaric’s replacement.
Head Coach Layne Anderson has seen improvements in his two years at the helm of the Hawkeye women’s cross country team, and wants to see more in 2005. In 2002, before Anderson arrived, the team placed 11th at the Big Ten Championships with 333 points. Last season, Iowa placed seventh and scored 170 points, which is its highest finish and lowest point total since 1993. With Nikki Chapple, Meghan Armstrong, Shannon Stanley and Racheal Marchand all returning returning, Anderson expects a talented squad and looks to keep improving.
HAWKEYE COACH Larry Wieczorek – Larry Wieczorek is in his 18th season as Iowa men’s cross country coach. In the past six years, Iowa has placed no lower than sixth at the NCAA Regional, including a first place finish at the 2002 NCAA Regional, the highest finish in school history. Wieczorek was a two-time Big Ten champion and a member of Iowa’s last Big Ten track championship team in 1967. Wieczorek still owns Iowa records in the outdoor 5,000-meters and the indoor two mile.
HAWKEYE COACH Layne Anderson – Layne Anderson enters his second season as Iowa women’s cross country coach and assistant women’s track coach. In his first season at Iowa, Anderson guided the cross country team to a ninth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Anderson served as the head men’s and women’s cross country coach and assistant track coach at Auburn University prior to joining the Iowa staff. During his tenure at Auburn, he coached seven all-Americans, two SEC champions and 58 academic all-SEC performers.
QUOTING COACH WIECZOREK – “I’m anxious to get the year started. This meet looks to be bigger, and most likely tougher than origanlly expected with six good teams coming here to compete.”
QUOTING COACH ANDERSON – “I’m excited to start the year because I feel we have a talented group. I feel we have a lot of potential and this meet will be an early test to judge our team.”