The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams kick off the 2022 season, hosting the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday evening. The Hawkeyes host Iowa Central CC and UW-Milwaukee at the Ashton Cross Country Course. The women’s 4,000-meter race begins at 6 p.m. (CT). The men’s 6,000 meters begins at 6:45 p.m. Admission is free.
ASHTON CROSS COUNTRY COURSE
The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country team’s home for training and competition is the Ashton Cross Country Course. Located west of the Finkbine Golf Course, the course first opened in 2003 and has hosted the 2014 Big Ten Championships and 2016 and 2021 NCAA Regionals. The course boasts a rolling terrain with outstanding rhythm for running, and offers the ability to race from 3K to 10K around a layout that enables spectators to view the race from start to finish.
IN THE RANKINGS
The University of Iowa men’s cross country team is ranked No. 14 in the USTFCCCA Midwest Region preseason polls. The Hawkeyes are one of three Big Ten teams ranked in the Midwest top 15, including No. 4 Minnesota and No. 15 Illinois. Seven additional Big Ten teams are ranked in their respective regions, including Wisconsin, Michigan State, Michigan, Indiana, Purdue, Ohio State, and Penn State.
The University of Iowa women’s cross country team is ranked No. 14 in the USTFCCCA Midwest Region preseason polls. The Hawkeyes are one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the Midwest top 15, including No. 2 Illinois, No. 4 Northwestern, No. 5 Minnesota, and No. 11 Nebraska. The remaining nine Big Ten teams are also ranked in their respective regions.
University of Iowa cross country capped off its 2021 season by hosting the NCAA Midwest Regional at the Ashton Cross Country Course. The Hawkeye men finished 13th in a 28-team field, and the women were 14th in a field of 32 teams. Oklahoma State claimed the men’s title and Minnesota came away with the women’s crown. In wind and snow, 22 athletes broke the 16-year old Ashton Cross Country Course 10,000-meter record, led by Iowa State’s Wesley Kiptoo (30:17.81) who topped the previous record by 34.19 seconds.
The Iowa men were led by Noah Healy (31:33.6; 46th), with Kal Lewis (52nd) and Nick Trattner (64th) close behind. Jack Pendergast (95th) and Ian Geisler (119th) rounded out scoring for the Hawkeyes.
In the women’s 6,000-meter race, Lauren McMahon led Iowa — finishing 56th in 21:43.9. The McKee sisters were next in for the Hawkeyes with Jessica McKee (58th) finishing seconds before her sister Brooke (62nd). Amber Aesoph (102nd) and Gabby Skopec (113th) were fourth and fifth in for the Hawkeyes to round out scoring.
Following the season opener, the Hawkeyes will have six regular season meets including a pair of meets that will preview the NCAA postseason sites. The Gans Creek Invite (Sept. 30) at the Gans Creek Cross Country Course in Columbia, Missouri, will give the Hawkeyes a look at the course that will play host to the NCAA Midwest Regional. The Weis-Crockett Invite (Oct. 15) at OSU Cross Country Course will serve as a preview meet of the 2022 NCAA Championships (Nov. 19) site in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Big Ten Championships will be hosted by Michigan in Ann Arbor on Oct. 28 and the NCAA Midwest Regional will take place Nov. 11 back in Columbia, Missouri. Teams and student-athletes that advance past the Midwest Regional will compete at the 2022 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
TRATTNER MAKING HISTORY
Nick Trattner became the first underclassmen in over a decade to lead the Hawkeye men for the first two races of the 2021 season (Jeff Thode in 2010). Thode is one of the most decorated Hawkeyes in history, recording two individual national championship appearances and one All-America honor in 2010, placing 30th. Trattner finished third at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite and sixth at the Dirksen-Greeno Invite. Trattner added a ninth-place finish on Oct. 1 at the Gans Creek Classic, finishing behind senior teammate Noah Healy. Trattner led the Hawkeyes again at the Bradley Pink Classic, finishing eighth to log his fourth top-10 finish of the season. Trattner led the Hawkeyes for the fourth time at the Big Ten Championships with a top-45 finish.
MEN’S TOP RUNNERS
Senior Nick Trattner returns for his third cross country season with the Hawkeyes. In 2021, Trattner earned four top-10 finishes and held an 8K personal record of 24:14.5. He placed second at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite with a 6K collegiate-best of 18:22.1. Fellow senior Konnor Sommer competed in five of six races last year and posted season bests in the 8K at the Bradley Pink Classic (25:17.1) and 10K at the NCAA Midwest Regional (33:32.31). Junior Jack Pendergast was one of six Hawkeyes to compete in all six races last season. He was Iowa’s third finisher at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite (18:46.7). Junior Kal Lewis also competed in all six races last year and was Iowa’s second finisher at the NCAA Midwest Regional, placing 52nd (31:38.71). Junior Max Murphy returns from injury after finishing third for the Hawkeyes at the 2020 Big Ten Championships.
WOMEN’S TOP RUNNERS
Junior Kelli Tosic returns for her third season with the Hawkeyes. In 2021, Tosic was Iowa’s top finisher in the first three races of the season. She placed 11th at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite (14:23.4). Junior Brooke McKee competed in five of six races last year and was Iowa’s top finisher at the B1G Championships (21:53.7). Senior Maddie Block posted season bests at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite (15:48.3) and 6,000-meter Gans Creek Invite (22:56.9). Senior Emma Gordon was one of four Hawkeyes to compete in all six races in 2021. She ran a collegiate best at the 2021 Hawkeye Invite (14:35.7). Junior Amber Aesoph posted a season-best 6K time at the 2021 NCAA Midwest Regional (22:21.20).
The University of Iowa cross country team added 14 student-athletes to its 2022 roster. Seven men join the Hawkeyes: Brayden Burnett, Nate Harbert, Carson Houg, Hayden Kuhn, Eli Naumann, Will Ryan, and Miles Sheppard. On the women’s side, the seven new Hawkeyes include Ana Barroso, Jalyssa Blazek, Rowan Boulter, Gabby Cortez, Lily Johannes, Ellie Rathe, and Aleah Tenpas.
Of the 32 women on Iowa’s roster, 23 hail from the Hawkeye State. Seven additional states, including Illinois (2), Wisconsin (2), Indiana, Michigan, Minnesota, Kansas, and Texas are represented. On the men’s side, ten of the 19 members are from Iowa. Illinois is represented by five student-athletes, while Minnesota is the home of two Hawkeyes. Colorado and New York are each represented with one student-athlete.
NEXT UP FOR THE HAWKEYES
The Hawkeyes head to Ann Arbor, Michigan, to compete at the Michigan Open on Friday, September 9th.
LINK UP WITH THE HAWKEYES
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). Follow live results at hawkeyesports.com/tracklive.