XC Notebook: Dirksen-Greeno Invite

IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action after a week, following the Hawkeye Invite. The Hawkeyes hit the road for the first time this season as they travel to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Dirksen-Greeno Invite at Mahoney Park Golf Course on Saturday. The women’s 5,000-meter race begins at 9 a.m. (CT). The men’s 8,000 meters begins at 9:45 a.m. (CT). Admission is $5 (cash only) for spectators and children under 12 get in free.

The Hawkeye men claimed the team title at the Hawkeye Invite on Sept. 3, in dominating fashion — winning the team race by a 69-point margin. Junior Nick Trattner led the way with a runner-up finish, running the seventh-fastest 6K time in program history. Senior Noah Healy and sophomore Jack Pendergast each finished in the top five at the Hawkeye Invite, and sophomore Ian Geisler cracked the top 10. On the women’s side, Iowa finished third as a team with 81 points. Kelli Tosic and Gabby Skopec finished two seconds apart, crossing in 11th and 13th place in the 4K race, respectively.

The University of Iowa men’s cross country team is ranked No. 12 in the USTFCCCA Midwest Region week one poll, and the Hawkeye women come into the weekend as the ninth-ranked team in the region. In the USTFCCCA Week One National rankings, Wisconsin sits atop the Big Ten men’s side as the nation’s 14th-ranked squad, and is joined in the top 30 by four additional Big Ten squads. Six Big Ten women’s teams occupy spots in the national top 30, led by Michigan State at No. 5.

2021 is the third season of running the Dirksen-Greeno Invite at Mahoney Park Golf Course. The Big Ten Cross Country Championships were held on the course in 2018. With excellent footing, long straightaways and rolling terrain, the course provides an excellent venue for great cross country racing.

Senior Noah Healy is back for his fourth cross country season with the Hawkeyes. In 2019, Healy was Iowa’s second finisher at the Midwest Regional, running a collegiate-best 10K in 31:58. Sophomore Max Murphy will look to build upon a top-55 finish at the Big Ten Championships in his freshman campaign. Junior Nick Trattner finished second at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite on Sept. 3, to lead Iowa to a team win in the season opener.

Junior Gabby Skopec returns for her third cross country season at Iowa. At the Big Ten Championships in 2020, Skopec was the top finisher for the Hawkeyes, running the 6K in 21:15 — good for a spot in the top 50. Sophomore Kelli Tosic finished 61st in the same race in 22:06. A freshman at the time, it was the first race of Tosic’s career. Tosic was the team’s top finisher on Sept. 3, at the Hawkeye Invite, helping the Hawkeyes to a third-place team finish. Junior Leah Kralovetz was an All-Region honoree in 2019 after a 16th-place finish. The junior was the top finisher for the Hawkeyes in three races that season.

The University of Iowa cross country team added 16 student-athletes to its 2021 roster. Six men join the Hawkeyes: Will Arbanas, Jack Gschwendtner, Isaac Hartman, Blake Hayden, Colin Hill and Yohana Yual. On the women’s side, the ten new Hawkeyes include Laney Fitzpatrick, Jaiden Itson, Kaitlin Knape, Lauren McMahon, Sarah Murphy, Miriam Sandeen, Lillian Schmidt, Chloe Skidmore, Sam Strauss, and Kathryn Vortherms.

Of the 30 women on Iowa’s roster, 21 hail from the Hawkeye State. Seven additional states, including Wisconsin (2), Illinois, Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, and Texas are represented, as well as Japan. On the men’s side, four of the 17 members are from Iowa. Illinois is represented by 7 student-athletes, while Wisconsin is the home of three Hawkeyes. Missouri, New York and New Jersey are each represented with one student-athlete.

The Hawkeyes head to Columbia, Missouri, to compete at the Gans Creek Invite on Friday, Oct. 1. The men’s 8K guns at 9 a.m. (CT) and the women are slated to follow at 10 a.m. (CT).

For an inside look at the Iowa cross country program and to access exclusive coverage, “like” The University of Iowa Cross Country and Track & Field Facebook page and follow the Hawks on Twitter (@IowaXC_TF) and Instagram (@iowaxctf).