XC Notebook: NCAA Midwest Regional

University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country heads to Stillwater, Oklahoma, for the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 10. Oklahoma State University will host the event at the Greiner Family OSU Cross Country Course. The women’s 6,000-meter race begins at 10:30 a.m. (CT), with the men’s 10,000-meters to follow at 11:30. The meet will be broadcast via stream at okstate.com and live results are provided by PT Timing.

The top two teams in each regional earn automatic qualification to the NCAA Championships. 13 at-large teams are selected, while only two individual at-larges advance. The first four finishers not from an automatic qualifying or at-large team will advance to the NCAA Championships.

The Hawkeye women placed 14th out of 33 teams at last season’s Midwest Regional meet in Columbia, Missouri. The team was paced by an 18th-place finish from Emma Gordon, who became the third Hawkeye in the last 10 seasons to finish in the top 20 at the NCAA Midwest Regional. Current Hawkeyes Kelli Tosic and Amber Aesoph also scored for the team. The men placed 17th out of 27 in the 10k. Jack Pendergast, Aidan King and Ian Geisler scored for the team last year and will compete in their third career regional race.

The Hawkeyes opened postseason competition on Oct. 27 at the Big Ten Championships in Madison, Wisconsin. The men’s team finished 10th overall. Junior Max Murphy was Iowa’s leader, crossing the line in 25:21.3 – good for 34th overall. Senior Jack Pendergast scored for the fourth time this season, finishing in 26:01.1. Sophomore Brayden Burnett clocked a 26:03.7 to finish third amongst Hawkeye runners – the highest placement of his career. On the women’s side, the Hawkeyes placed 14th in the 6,000-meter race. Senior Abby Ryon led the charge for Iowa for the first time this season, posting a 22:49.3 mark. Fellow senior Amber Aesoph was right behind her and crossed the line in 22:52.7. Sophomore Jalyssa Blazek made her Big Ten Championship debut and finished in 22:57.6.

The Hawkeye women are led by the veteran core of Amber Aesoph, Brooke McKee, Abby Ryon and Kelli Tosic. Ryon led the team at the Big Ten Championships with her 22:49.3 mark. Aesoph paced the women for the third time this season at the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 13. Jalyssa Blazek was Iowa’s top finisher for the first time in her career at the Joe Piane Invite on Sept. 29. Aesoph, Blazek, McKee, Aleah Tenpas and Clare Kelly led the Hawkeyes at the Badger Classic on Sept. 9. The same group scored for Iowa at the Hawkeye Invite.

Iowa’s men’s team is led by star junior Max Murphy, who holds two top-10 times in program history. Murphy owns the school record in the 6,000-meter (17:57.7) and ranks sixth in the 8,000-meter (23:44) race. He was Iowa’s top finisher at the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 27. Jack Pendergast led the men’s team at the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 13. At the Badger Classic on Sept. 9, Miles Sheppard led the Hawkeyes to a fifth-place finish. Hayden Kuhn, Will Ryan and Sheppard impressed at the Hawkeye Invite, setting career bests and entering the top-10 all-time list at Iowa. Freshman Miles Wilson has been a point scorer in three of four races this season.

Junior Max Murphy kicked off the 2023 cross country season in record-setting fashion at the Hawkeye Invite, shattering the program’s six-year 6,000-meter record, previously held by Ian Eklin. Murphy’s 17:57.7 broke the school’s top mark by nearly 13 seconds. Previously, the Hawkeye star had ranked sixth all-time in school history, before the 22-second personal best set at the Ashton Cross Country Course. Four more Hawkeyes moved up the program record list: Hayden Kuhn (18:05.4 – 2nd), Miles Sheppard (18:07.4 – 3rd), Will Ryan (18:17.4 – 7th), and Ian Geisler (18:17.6 – 8th).

Of the 29 women on Iowa’s roster, 21 hail from the Hawkeye State. Six additional states are represented, including Illinois (3), Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota, Texas and Wisconsin. On the men’s side, 12 of the 15 members are from Iowa. Illinois is represented by two student-athletes, while Colorado is the home to one Hawkeye.

Pending qualification, the Hawkeyes prepare for the NCAA Championships in Charlottesville, Virginia, on Nov. 18.

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 Hawkeyes on X (@IowaXC_TF) and Instagram (@iowaxctf). Follow live results at hawkeyesports.com/tracklive.