SHELBYVILLE, Indiana—The University of Iowa Cross Country team competed at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships in Shelbyville, Indiana, on Saturday and recorded three top 50 individual finishes on the men’s and women’s sides. The Hawkeyes did not register a team score, but Iowa was on the course.
In the women’s 6,000 meters, senior Gabby Skopec paced the Hawkeyes, finishing in 50th place with a time of 21:53. She was followed by freshman Kelli Tosic who placed 61st in 22:06 and junior Emma Gordon, who finished 80th in 22:42. Skopec and Tosic set new career bests while Gordon recorded the second best time of her career.
In the men’s 8,000 meters, freshman Aidan King finished 44th with a time of 25:20. Senior Spencer Smith was close behind in 49th with a time of 25:34. Freshman Max Murphy finished in 53rd place with a time of 25:40 and freshman Jack Pendergast was 66th in 25:59. Murphy, Pendergast and King all recorded new career bests in their cross country debut for the Hawkeyes.
QUOTING COACH RANDY HASENBANK:
“Gabby made huge improvements from a year ago when she finished 106th at this same meet. She led us today finishing 50th. Kelli had a great debut in her first Big Ten meet with a 61st place finish. Emma competed well also as she is just getting back to training.
“We were happy to see the future of the men’s program out on the course competing. Aidan King ran a fantastic race despite the fact that he and Max Murphy went down in the first 200 meters of the race. Aidan kept his composure and competed very well with a 44th place finish. Max Murphy had a really tough break today. He lost his shoe when he fell in the first 200 and ran five miles with one shoe. I was proud of him for sticking with it. What he has done on the track this season has been terrific, the guy has a great attitude and will be hungry for the next race. Jack really worked hard in the first part of the race that left him with a tough last two miles. I told him that if you are going to make a mistake, make an aggressive mistake. He is a confident guy and will become an excellent distance runner. Spencer had his best finish at a Big Ten meet in his career so that is a step in the right direction.
“Considering the circumstances and the challenges we have had; the experience was worth it.”
The Michigan State Spartans won the women’s race with a total of 48 points while the Wisconsin Badgers won the men’s race with 40 points.