Nov. 27, 2006
IOWA CITY, IA – Micah VanDenend and Diane Nukuri have been named men and women’s regional athlete of the year. The announcement came from the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association today. The Division I cross country athletes and coaches were honored for their excellence within each of the nine regions.
Senior co-captain Micah VanDenend finished the Midwest regional with a winning time of 30:40. He led the field of competitors and helped the Hawkeyes to a third place finish and Iowa Hawkeyes’ fourth appearance in five years. Competing for the third consecutive year at the NCAA championship meet, VanDenend ended the 2006 season 66th with a time of 32:23 in the 10,000-meter run. In last the four races VanDenend placed in the top ten in three out of the four meets. Including a sixth place finish at the pre-national meet, third place at the Big Ten Championship meet and an individual title at the Midwest regional meet. VanDenend also posted career best times of 23:39 in the 8,000-meter and 30:40 in the 10,000 meter.
Junior Diane Nukuri joined the Iowa women’s cross country team this year after transferring from Butler County Community College. Nukuri claimed the Midwest Regional individual title crossing the finish line in 20:34. The winning time tied teammate Meghan Armstrong as the fastest 6,000-meter race in Hawkeye history. Nukuri’s strong performance at the Midwest regional ended a 14 year drought for the women’s cross country team with an appearance in the NCAA championship meet. She finished eighth with a time of 21:05 in the NCAA championship 6,000-meter race and earned All-American honors. During her first year as a Hawkeye Nukuri also set school records in the 3,000 meter (9:47) and 5,000-meter (16:10).
The men and women’s teams ended their seasons at the NCAA championship meet. Their joint appearance was a first for Iowa. The men’s team finished 28th with an average team time of 33:09. The women finished 17th with an average time of 22:06. Nukuri and Racheal Marchand also earned individual All-American honors.