Hawkeyes to Compete at Pre NCAA Invite

Oct. 13, 2009

THIS WEEK– The University of Iowa cross country teams will travel to Terre Haute, IN, for the Pre NCAA Invite, hosted by Indiana State University. The men will run an 8,000-meter race and the women will run a 6,000-meter race. Events are slated to begin at approximately 10:00 a.m. CDT.

LAST TIME OUT — The Iowa cross country squads competed at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, hosted by the University of Wisconsin. The men’s squad placed fifth overall in the 8,000-meter race with 176 points and were led by freshman Jeffrey Thode, who placed second overall with a collegiate-best mark of 23:55 that ranks seventh all-time at Iowa. In the women’s 5,000-meter race, Iowa placed sixth with 157 points with sophomore Brooke Eilers leading the Hawkeyes with a tenth-place finish of 17:31.

Along with Thode, senior Jesse Luciano had a strong individual performance, finishing 14th with a season-best finish of 24:17. The rest of Iowa’s top seven, who all earned season-best times, were junior Mark Battista (45th, 25:07), senior Tommy Tate (53rd, 25:20), sophomores James Paul (62nd, 25:28) and Chase Kadlec (64th, 25:30), and senior Jay Renaud (74th, 26:02).

“It was our best team performance of the year,” said Men’s Head Coach Larry Wieczorek. “We finished just a few points behind Arkansas and finished with some tough teams. In addition to our good team effort, I was impressed by some strong individual performances, especially Thode and Luciano.”

Along with Eilers, the women’s top seven finishers were graduate student Megan Lessard (28th, 17:49), sophomore Betsy Flood (36th, 17:53), juniors Lauren Hardesty (41st, 17:56) and Amanda Hardesty (42nd, 17:59), sophomore McKenzie Melander (48th, 18:08), and senior Fionna Fallon (53rd, 18:14).

“Overall I thought it was a solid outing,” said Women’s Head Coach Layne Anderson. “There were some good things that I think we can build on. I was very pleased in their efforts. It would have been nice to place a little higher as a team, but I’m confident moving forward. So tomorrow, it’s back to work preparing for the next few weeks.”

USTFCCCA WEEK THREE POLL — Both Iowa squads held their national and regional rankings in the latest poll from the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), released Oct. 12.

Last week, the women cracked the top 30 nationally, coming in at 29th, having been previously ranked 33rd. They are fourth in the Midwest Region.

The men’s team entered the national scene last week, receiving enough votes to put them at 34th nationally. They are seventh in the Midwest Region.

FLOOD EARNS WEEKLY HONORS — University of Iowa sophomore Betsy Flood was one of three student-athletes named Big Ten Women’s Cross Country Runner of the Week on September 8, following her performance at the Hawkye Invite. This is Flood’s first weekly honor, with the last Hawkeye to earn this honor being Racheal Marchand on October 7, 2008.

Flood shares the weekly laurel with Michigan junior Danielle Tauro and Penn State sophomore Caitlin Lee. The Men’s Cross Country Runner of the Week was Alex Russeau, a junior at Michigan State.

HAWKEYE WOMEN’S COACH Layne Anderson — Layne Anderson is in his second year as head coach of the University of Iowa women’s cross country and track and field teams. He has served as the women’s cross country coach for the past six seasons, and was the interim head women’s track coach in 2008. From 2003-07, he served as an assistant women’s track coach for the Hawkeyes.

In Anderson’s six years with the cross country team, the Hawkeyes have made strong strides toward recapturing the program’s success of the 1980’s. The team qualified for the NCAA Championships the last three seasons after a 14-year absence from the meet. In 2008, the Hawkeyes placed sixth at the Big Ten meet and fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regional, marking the third straight season that Iowa has placed sixth or higher at the conference race and fourth or higher at the regional meet. During Anderson’s tenure, the Hawkeyes have also set school records in the 3,000, 4,000, 5,000 and 6,000 meters.

HAWKEYE MEN’S COACH Larry Wieczorek — Larry Wieczorek is in his 23rd season as head men’s cross country coach and is in his 14th season as head men’s track coach at the University of Iowa. He served as an assistant track coach for 12 years before taking the helm in 1997.

Wieczorek took over the men’s cross country program in 1987, and has since shifted his track responsibilities to the distance corps. During his tenure, the cross country team has placed sixth or higher 10 times at the NCAA Regional Championships, has posted 33 all-region selections and qualified for the NCAA Championships five times. In 2002, Wieczorek was named Midwest Region Coach of the Year 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). He has coached several Hawkeyes to individual honors – including 2006 NCAA Midwest Regional Men’s Athlete of the Year Micah VanDenend and Iowa’s two Big Ten Cross Country Freshman of the Year honorees in Jared Pittman (1993) and Reed Steele (1998).

UP NEXT — Championship action will begin for the Hawkeyes with the Big Ten Championships on Nov. 11 at Penn State University in University Park, PA. Events are slated to start at 9:45 a.m.

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