XC Notebook: Redbird Invite

The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams take to the road again this week, heading to Normal, Illinois on Friday for the Redbird Invite. The meet is hosted by Illinois State at the Weibring Golf Club. The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 5:00pm CT, while the men’s 8,000-meter race kicks off at 5:45pm. Live results will be found at ShaZam Racing.

The University of Iowa men’s cross country team is ranked No. 5 in this week’s USTFCCCA Midwest Region poll. Iowa moved up nine spots from the initial preseason poll. The Hawkeyes are the highest ranked Big Ten team in the Midwest top 15, with Illinois ranked No. 6 and Minnesota ranked No. 7. Seven additional Big Ten teams are ranked in their respective regions, including Indiana, Michigan, Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, Purdue and Wisconsin.

The University of Iowa women’s cross country team is ranked No. 14 in this week’s USTFCCCA Midwest Region poll. The Hawkeyes are one of five Big Ten teams ranked in the Midwest top 15, including No.3 Illinois, No. 4 Northwestern, No. 5 Minnesota, and No. 13 Nebraska. The remaining nine Big Ten teams are also ranked in their respective regions.

The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams traveled to Ann Arbor, Michigan for the Big Ten Preview. In the women’s 6,000-meter race, Iowa had strong showings from senior Emma Gordon (21:44.5), who finished 16th overall, junior Kelli Tosic (22:20.5) and freshman Jalyssa Blazek (22:24.1). Senior Maddie Block finished fourth for Iowa, setting a PR of 22:48.0. Junior Brooke McKee rounded out the top five Hawkeye finishers with a time of 22:51.9. Iowa posted an average time of 22:25.8 and came away with 147 points.

The men’s 6,000-meter race saw four Hawkeye PRs and two top-10 individual finishes. The Hawkeyes were paced by the season debuts of senior Nick Trattner and junior Max Murphy. Trattner led the Hawkeyes with an eighth-place finish and PR of 18:18.3, while Murphy crossed the line in ninth at 18:19.1. Sophomore Ian Geisler sped across the line with a personal best of 18:39.2, good for 15th overall. Sophomore Jack Pendergast finished 18th, recording a PR of 18:43.5. Freshman Miles Sheppard rounded out the top five Hawkeye finishers with a time of 18:53.7. Another Iowa PR was set by senior Konnor Sommer (18:59.2). The Hawkeyes had an average time of 18:34.8 and earned 75 points, placing third as a team.

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.

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.

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.

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.

The Hawkeyes head to Columbia, Missouri for the Gans Creek Classic on Friday, September 30th.

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.