Hawkeyes to Host Iowa Invitational

Sept. 13, 2011

The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams will compete in their second meet of the 2011 season Friday at the Iowa Invitational. The Hawkeyes will compete against the University of Northern Iowa at the Ashton Cross Country Course. The men’s 8K event will begin at 6 p.m. before the women’s 3K at 6:30 p.m.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams competed in the Iowa Open against the Illinois State Redbirds. The men’s team took first place in the event. Hawkeye All-American junior Jeff Thode won the men’s 6K event with a time of 19:01. The Iowa women’s team took second. The top finisher for the Hawkeyes was junior Kelsey Hart with a time of 14:42.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams posted dual victories at the 2010 Iowa Invitational. The men and women posted wins over Wichita State and Northern Iowa, respectively. Jeff Thode won the men’s 8K event with a time of 25:05. Sam Balin finished third with a time of 25:39. James Paul rounded out the top five with a time of 25:59. Brooke Eilers was the top finisher for the Hawkeyes. She placed second in the women’s 3K event with a time of 10:15. Betsy Flood finished third with a time of 10:18, while McKenzie Melander finished fifth with a time of 10:26.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams are ranked in the USTFCCCA week one Regional rankings. The Hawkeye men’s team is ranked seventh in the Midwest Region and the women’s team is ranked third. Nationally, the women’s team improved upon their preseason ranking. The Hawkeyes are now 27th overall, up one spot from number 28.

The Hawkeye women’s team is looking to its seniors for experience. Betsy Flood was an all-region and second-team All-Big Ten selection last season while Brooke Eilers and McKenzie Melander both have NCAA Championship experience.

Junior Jeff Thode has been Iowa’s top finisher in 12-of-13 career races, including the last eight meets. The Schaumburg, Ill, native earned All-America honors last season and has been the Hawkeyes’ top finisher in each of the last two NCAA Midwest Regionals.

Both the men’s and women’s cross country teams welcome an outstanding freshman class. The women’s team welcomes Kayla Beattie, a USA Today All-USA high school track and field team selection and a 2011 Pan-Am Games participant. The Hawkeye men’s team welcomes Kevin Lewis, Evan Selsor, and Ben Witt. The three finished second, fifth, and 10th, respectively, in the Iowa Open.