Cross Country Notebook: Big Ten Championships

Oct. 28, 2015

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THIS WEEK
The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams compete at the 2015 Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Illinois, on Sunday. The men’s 8,000-meter race begins at 10:45 a.m. (CT), while the women’s 6,000 meters follows at 11:45 a.m. The event takes place at the Sydney R. Marovitz golf course on the campus of Northwestern University. Admission is free.

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B1G ON BTN
The Big Ten Championships will air on the Big Ten Network on Thursday, Nov. 12, at 7 p.m. (CT).

IN THE RANKINGS
The men’s team is slotted 12th in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches poll behind Nebraska (11), while the women’s team is ranked 15th.

A LOOK AT THE BIG TEN
The Hawkeye men join a 12-team field that features four nationally ranked teams — Michigan (5), Michigan State (19), Wisconsin (27), and Indiana (28). On the women’s side, five teams own national rankings — Michigan (2), Penn State (15), Michigan State (21), Minnesota (22), and Purdue (30).

HAWKEYE COMPETITORS
Four Hawkeyes — sophomore Michael Melchert, juniors Kevin Docherty and Ben Anderson, and senior Anthony Gregorio — return to the men’s Big Ten lineup from a year ago. Junior Taylor Soltys, redshirt freshman Daniel Gardarsson, and freshmen Ian Eklin, Bailey Hesse-Withbroe, and Daniel Soto are first-timers to the Big Ten stage.

On the women’s side, sophomores Marta Bote Gonzalez and Kelly Breen, and juniors Carolyn Newhouse and Tess Wilberding are returnees from last year’s championships. Freshman Andrea Shine, sophomores Courtney Bruns and Madison Waymire, and junior Alana Jones round out Iowa’s field.

MELCHERT REPEATS
Sophomore Michael Melchert is the third Hawkeye to lead the men’s team in four races this season. He posted collegiate-best marks at the Notre Dame Invitational (five miles/24:46.8) on Oct. 2 and the Bradley Pink Classic (8,000 meters/24:14.1) on Oct. 16 to finish first for Iowa. Freshman Ian Eklin (Early Bird) and senior Anthony Gregorio (Illinois State) are Hawkeye top finishers this season.

HAWKEYE BIG TEN HISTORY
Eight Hawkeyes (6 men, 2 women) have been crowned Big Ten Individual Champions. Tracy Dahl Morris was Iowa’s first female Big Ten Champion in 1992. Diane Nukuri was the last woman to win the title. She clocked a Big Ten Championships record of 19:37 (6,000 meters) to win gold in 2007.

Former Director of Track & Field Larry Wieczorek was the last Iowa male to take the Big Ten crown. Wieczorek won back-to-back titles in 1966 (4 miles; 19:02.5) and 1967 (5 miles; 24:17), setting the Big Ten Championships record in the four-mile race. He is one of 19 student-athletes to win two or more titles. That group also includes Rich Ferguson (1952-53), and H.R. Phelps (1923-24).

THOUGHTS FROM HEAD COACH LAYNE ANDERSON
“We are excited about the opportunity that lies ahead this Sunday. We have prepared well and feel confident that we can pursue personal-best performances. If we can achieve that across the board we can use the final results to better assess the distance program, its progress to date, and the potential for the future.”

UP NEXT: NCAA MIDWEST REGIONALS
The Hawkeyes travel to the NCAA Midwest Regional in Lawrence, Kansas, on Nov. 13.

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