Aug. 28, 2006
THIS WEEK — The Men’s and Women’s Cross Country teams will both travel to Macomb, IL Friday for the Western Illinois University’s Early Bird Invitational. The meet is scheduled for Friday at Spring Lake Park. The women will start at 5 p.m. with a 4,000-meter race, while the men will follow at 5:45 p.m. with a 6,000-meter race.
2006 MEN’S SEASON PREVIEW — Iowa returns its top two runners from 2005, Eric MacTaggart and Micah VanDenend. MacTaggart and VanDenend each earned all-region honors with MacTaggart leading the way in three races and setting the Ashton Cross Country Course 6,000-meter record (18:18). Senior Jeff Kent and sophomore Andy Napier also posted solid races in 2005.The Hawkeyes will need the sophomore class of Heath Moenck, Blake Schlotzhauer and Alex Webster to turn their year of experience into strong supporting performances. Wieczorek also hopes at least one of the three newcomers (Adam Hairston, Jesse Luciano and Bruce MacTaggart) can step in immediately. Redshirt freshmen Brendan Camplin, Jay Renaud, Mike Stout and Tommy Tate will provide depth and get a chance to crack the varsity lineup.
2006 WOMEN’S SEASON PREVIEW — Iowa’s key returnee is junior Meghan Armstrong. In 2005, she became Anderson’s first NCAA qualifier at Iowa with her ninth-place regional finish. She also set the school 3,000 (10:25) and 6,000-meter (20:49) records, and the 3,000-meter (10:25) Ashton Course record. The all-region selection was the first Hawkeye finisher in every race. Coach Anderson is looking to an untested group that includes redshirt freshman Krista Anderson, junior transfer Diane Nukuri and freshmen Jolly Burke to round out the top group. Nukuri was a 2000 Olympian for her native Burundi and is a nine-time NJCAA national champion and 17-time all-American from Butler County Community College. Junior Racheal Marchand and senior Shannon Stanley will also vy for scoring positions in the top pack. Marchand was Iowa’s second finisher at the Big Ten Championships (22nd) and NCAA regional (18th), earning all-region honors. She led the Hawkeyes in the 10,000-meters during the 2006 track season, qualifying for the NCAA outdoor championships. Stanley earned her first NCAA regional berth last spring in the 1,500 meters and will look to carry that success to 6,000 meters. Anderson will also have a strong group to provide depth. Seniors Christine Kotarba and Jordan Laney, juniors Molly Esche and Jessica Schmidt, redshirt freshman Jennie Docherty and freshmen Katie Ellis and Chrissy Schaefer will all get opportunities to run. Esche and Schmidt will be looked at to be impact performers.
HAWKEYE MEN NAME TEAM CAPTAINS — Seniors Micah VanDenend and Jeff Kent have been named team co-captains for the 2006 men’s cross country season. VanDenend, a native of Glen Ellyn, IL, is a two-time all-region selection that earned all-Big Ten honors in 2004. He broke Coach Wieczorek’s 38-year-old 5,000-meter record during the outdoor track season, qualifying for the NCAA Championships in that event, and set the school 3,000-meter record indoors (8:00.81). VanDenend also qualified for the NCAA Championships in the 5,000 meters (13:55.96). Kent is a native of Valparaiso, IN, who transferred to Iowa from Ball State in 2004.
HAWKEYE MEN’S COACH Larry Wieczorek – Larry Wieczorek is in his 20th season as Iowa men’s cross country coach. During his tenure, the cross country team has placed sixth or higher nine times at the NCAA Regional Championships, has posted 27 all-region selections and qualified for the NCAA Championships four times. In 2002, Wieczorek was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year honors by the United States Cross Country Association after the Hawkeyes won the NCAA Regional for the first time in school history. In 2004, the Hawkeyes recorded their highest placings under Wieczorek at the Big Ten (3rd) and NCAA Championships (13th). Wieczorek was a two-time Big Ten champion and a menber of Iowa’s last Big Ten track championship team in 1967. Wieczorek still owns Iowa record in the indoor two mile.
HAWKEYE WOMEN’S COACH Layne Anderson – Layne Anderson is in his fourth year as head women’s cross country coach and assistant women’s track and field coach at the University of Iowa. In his three years with the cross country team, the Hawkeyes have made strong strides toward recapturing the program’s success of the 1980’s. The team recorded identical seventh-place finishes at the 2004 and 2005 Big Ten Championships, which was Iowa’s highest finish since placing fifth in 1993. Iowa has also improved its finish at the NCAA midwest regional each season, placing ninth in 2003, seventh in 2004 and sixth in 2005. The Hawkeyes have also set school records in the 3,000 and 6,000 meters that last two seasons, and the 4,000-meter record in 2004.
QUOTING COACH WIECZOREK – “This is an early season meet where we can run some of our runners that need some experience. We hope to get these runners some good experience so we can build our overall line-up.”
QUOTING COACH ANDERSON – “This meet will be a real relaxed setting where we can get some of our true and red-shirt freshman a chance to run. We will use this week as an ice-breaker meet and look to see if some of these girls can be big contributors for us this season.”
NEXT WEEK — Iowa will host the Hawkeye Open Saturday, September 9 at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City. The women will run 3,000 meters at 8:30 a.m. and the men will run 6,000 meters at 9 a.m. Competing teams include Syracuse, Loyola and Iowa. Admission to the event is free.