Hawkeyes Set To Host Iowa Invitational

Sept. 15, 2010

The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams will host the Iowa Invitational Saturday. It will be the second event of the year for both squads. The Hawkeyes will host Northern Iowa and Wichita State at the Ashton Cross Country Course, with the men’s 8K beginning at 8 a.m. and the women’s 3K following at approximately 8:45 a.m. Admission is free.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are ranked in the USTFCCCA Regional rankings. The Hawkeye men’s team is ranked fifth in the Midwest Region and the women’s team is ranked second. Nationally, the women’s team is ranked 24th overall.

Head Coach Larry Wieczorek announced Wednesday that Dr. Georgina Dodge, the University’s Chief Diversity Officer and Associate Vice President, has been named an honorary team member for the 2010-11 track and field season. Dr. Dodge served as assistant vice provost of Ohio State University’s Office of Minority Affairs for five years before joining the University of Iowa in July, 2010. She earned her B.A., summa cum laude, from the University of California, Irvine, and her Ph.D. in English from the University of California, Los Angeles. “When Dr. Dodge arrived on campus I read in the paper that she was excited to be here and anxious to cover her white office walls, so I sent her a welcoming gift that included a track and field poster and a media guide,” said Wieczorek. “We have one of the largest and most diverse teams on campus, so I thought it would be appropriate for us to welcome her to the University of Iowa. Since then, she has accepted our offer to become an honorary team member. I used to be excited about the upcoming season, but now I like our chances better than ever.”

The Hawkeyes opened the 2010 season Sept. 3 at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City. The Hawkeyes battled Illinois State and Missouri-Kansas City, with both the men and women’s squads posting double dual victories. The Iowa women’s team defeated Illinois State (16-47) and Missouri-Kansas City (15-50), while the Hawkeye men posted identical 20-35 wins over the Redbirds and Kangaroos. Iowa’s Lauren Hardesty won the women’s 3K with a collegiate best time of 10:21. The senior tied her twin sister Amanda for the fourth best 3K time in school history. Hawkeye junior Betsy Flood finished second with a time of 10:24. Brooke Eilers recorded a third place finish. The junior ran a time of 10:27. Amanda Hardesty finished fourth with a time of 10:34. Additionally, McKenzie Melander finished sixth in the overall standings, turning in a time of 10:38. Illinois State’s Matthew Mroczynski won the men’s 6K with a time of 18:47. Sophomore Jeff Thode was Iowa’s top finisher in the event for the second straight year. He recorded a third place finish with a time of 19:04 after winning the event a year ago. Hawkeye team captain Mark Battista finished fourth, turning in a time of 19:07. James Paul finished fifth overall. The junior recorded a time of 19:10. Fellow junior Chase Kadlec finished sixth in the event, clocking a time of 19:31. Freshman Andrew Smith made an impressive debut in his first college competition. Smith finished seventh, running a 19:35.

The Big Ten Conference named University of Iowa senior Lauren Hardesty Women’s Cross Country Co-Runner of the Week for her performance Sept. 3 at the Hawkeye Invite. Hardesty shared the honor with Penn State junior Caitlin Lane. The honor is Hardesty’s first career Big Ten weekly honor and the first for the Hawkeyes this season. The Valparaiso, IN, native earned the honor after turning in a 3,000-meter time of 10:21 at the Hawkeye Invitational, good for first place. Hardesty led the Hawkeyes to the team title on their home course. The career-best performance places her in a tie for the fourth-best 3K time in Iowa history with her twin sister Amanda.

“We are excited to get back in action and evaluate our level of improvement from the first meet. The recent rankings fall right in line with our seasonal goal to improve throughout the season and move up the national polls. If we continue on our current path and improve with each meet then we will certainly enhance our chances at earning an NCAA berth in November.”

The University of Iowa men’s cross country squad will return to action Sept. 25. The men will travel to the Roy Griak Invite in Minneapolis, MN. The women’s team will compete next Oct. 1 as both teams will travel to the Notre Dame Invite in South Bend, IN.