Editor’s Note: The following first appeared in the University of Iowa’s Hawk Talk Daily, an e-newsletter that offers a daily look at the Iowa Hawkeyes, delivered free each morning to thousands of fans of the Hawkeyes worldwide. To receive daily news from the Iowa Hawkeyes, sign up HERE.
By JACK ROSSI
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country continued its yearly improvement at the 2017 Big Ten Championships on Oct. 29 in Bloomington, Indiana.
The men placed 10th and the women were 11th, but the team standings hardly reflect the strides being made.
“The men moved out of the cellar,” Hasenbank said. “We beat a couple teams this year and we are glad to be moving forward. The women held steady with the same finish as a year ago, but if you look at it more in-depth, you’ll see two greatly improved teams. I challenge anybody to find a team in the Big Ten that made more dramatic improvement than the Iowa men did.”
As a team, the Hawkeye men improved a total of 247 spots between six runners, with the biggest improvement coming from sophomore Nathan Mylenek, who moved up 69 spots from 97th in 2016 to 28th.
“Nate was in the top four at the 3 kilometer mark, and may have made an aggressive mistake, but he tried to win the race and he was fearless,” Hasenbank said. “I’ll take the aggressiveness over being passive.”
On the women’s side, sophomore Andrea Shine continued to pace the Hawkeyes with a 29th place finish. That is 37 spots better than her finish last year. She joined three other Hawkeyes who improved from 2016 — senior Marta Bote Gonzalez (plus-42 spots), senior Madison Waymire (plus-25), and sophomore Julie Hollensbe (plus-17).
“This shows that these athletes have a highly competitive spirit,” Hasenbank said. “They were disappointed because we wanted to move the needle in the team standings and take that next step, but we did compete far better than we did a year ago.
“You won’t see it on the scoreboard, but there was some nice movement as far as the individual standings on both rosters. I am not satisfied, but I am pleased.”
Next up for the Hawkeyes is the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 10 in Ames, Iowa, where the Hawkeyes look to back up their regional rankings.
“Our goal is a top five finish on the men’s side,” Hasenbank said. “We started the season and discussed a top five or six finish in the region. We went from barely in the rankings to being No. 5. Nate Myelenek and Dan Soto need to think about running with the best in the region and try to make the national championship.”
As for the women, their finest race of the season is still to come.
“We have not had all of our women have their best day on the same day,” Hasenbank said. “It’s hard to do, but if our women run to their potential, then we can be in the top 10 in the region.”