Cross Country Continues Championship Action

Nov. 9, 2009

THIS WEEK– The championship portion of the schedule continues for Iowa on Nov 14 at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet, hosted by Missouri State University at Springfield, MO. Thirty-three teams from ten different conferences will meet to determine the top regional teams as well as attempt to earn automatic and at-large bids to the NCAA Championships. Event’s are slated to start at 12:00 pm CST, with the men’s teams running a 10,000-meter race and the women running a 6,000-meter race.

LAST TIME OUT — The University of Iowa cross country teams were at Penn State University on Nov 1 for the 2009 Big Ten Championships, with both teams taking sixth place. The men’s squad ran a 5.2 mile race with senior Jesse Luciano leading the Hawkeyes with a 13th place, 25:42.6 finish. The women ran a 6,000-meter race, with their top performer, sophomore Betsy Flood, earning a new collegiate-best with her 26th place finish of 21:29. Wisconsin won the men’s competition while host Penn State won the women’s competiton.

The men’s team improved from last year’s seventh place finish. Luciano led the Hawkeyes in last season’s Big Ten Championships as well, earning 2008 all-Big Ten honors in the process. However, this is the first time this season he has been in front. That’s because freshman Jeffrey Thode has led Iowa in all four previous meets this season, but he finished just behind Luciano this weekend, finishing 17th with a time of 25:52.1. The rest of the men’s squad finished in a later pack led by junior Mark Battista (32nd, 26:18.8).

Flood’s new season-best time of 21:29 places her ninth all-time at Iowa in the 6,000-meters. Four other Hawkeyes earned new collegiate-bests as well: Senior Hannah Roeder (28th, 21:31), juniors Lauren Hardesty (31st, 21:32), Amanda Hardesty (33rd, 21:38), and sophomore Lindsay Anderson (55th, 22:17). The team’s sixth place finish matches their 2008 Big Ten Championships results, despite the loss of former standout athlete Racheal Marchand, who earned first-team all-Big Ten in 2008.

USTFCCCA WEEK SIX POLL — The second-to-last poll of the season was released by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association on Nov 3, and the women’s squad saw a drop in their national rank while both teams keep their regional ranking going into this weekend’s action.

The women’s team is ranked 30th nationally after having been ranked 23rd two weeks in a row. Regionally, the women are ranked fourth and the men are ranked seventh. Illinois and Oklahoma State hold the top spot in the women’s and men’s Midwest Region, respectively.

The final poll of the season will be released on Tuesday, Nov 17 following this weekend’s various regional championships.

NCAA CROSS COUNTRY CHAMPIONSHIPS LIVE ON VERSUS — The 2009 Divison 1 Cross Country Championships will be broadcast live on VERSUS on Nov 23. This is the third year that the championships will be on live television, and the first year with VERSUS.

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 — Any automatic qualifiers and those who earn at-large bids will compete in the NCAA Championships on Nov. 23. Indiana State University, located in Terre Haute, IN, will be host to this year’s championships. Events are slated to begin at approximately 11 a.m. CT, starting with the men’s race and the women to follow.

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