Oct. 16, 2015
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PEORIA, Ill. — Eight Hawkeyes on the University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams clocked collegiate-best times at the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria, Illinois, on Friday. The men’s team (112) finished five points behind Nebraska (107) to place third overall, while the women (214) came in seventh.
“I thought we competed well as a team and the individuals who had personal bests took great steps forward in their career,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “I think they are now starting to believe what I’ve been telling them all year, and that is we can be an outstanding group.”
The Hawkeyes’ top three finishers on the men’s side raced to lifetime bests in the 8,000 meters. Sophomore Michael Melchert saw a 52-second improvement when he crossed the line in 24:14.1 to finish third, respectively, while senior Anthony Gregorio (24:19.7) edged out junior Ben Anderson (11th/24:20.6) for the 10th spot.
Juniors Taylor Soltys (42nd/24:58.2) and Kevin Docherty (46th/25:01.2) concluded Iowa’s scoring.
“On the men’s side, the top three certainly set the standard,” Anderson said. “We have five or six guys in the next pack that are certainly capable of running with them. We need to get at least two of them to cut the gap down; it’s been our Achilles heel all year. Most, if not all, should race — or at least be within 15 to 20 seconds — of our top finishers. If we do that, it will be hard to ask for much more out of this group.”
The women’s team continued its momentum this season when its five point scorers posted career-best efforts in the 6,000 meters.
Sophomore Madison Waymire (17th/21:08.8) was Iowa’s top finisher followed by junior Tess Wilberding (24th/21:16.9), freshman Andrea Shine (44th/21:40.2), sophomore Kelly Breen (63rd/21:50.8), and sophomore Alana Jones (66th/21:52.1).
“The women took a nice step forward and are feeling better about their season,” Anderson said. “We’ve been racing like we’ve been training. They did some nice things at Notre Dame and are continuing to build some good momentum.”
The Hawkeyes have a two-week break from competition in preparation for the Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Illinois, on Nov. 1.
“We will use this time to get race sharp, rested and refreshed for the Big Ten Championships, and continue to build confidence,” Anderson said. “We have individuals who are in outstanding shape; they just need to get out there and race how they train.
“We need to compete, act like we belong, believe we belong, and run personal-best performances at the conference meet. If our top five run personal bests on both sides regardless of the outcome, it’s hard to ask for much more than that.”