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Women's cross country season comes to an end

BY MAGGIE CUNNINGHAM | NOVEMBER 15, 2010 7:20 AM

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The Iowa women's cross-country season came to a close Nov. 13 when the team placed seventh out of 27 teams in the Midwest Regional at the Newton Golf Course in Peoria, Ill.

"The race did not go as well as we would have hoped," junior McKenzie Melander said. "We did our best to leave everything on the course, but unfortunately, it just wasn't enough for us to move on."

Iowa State dominated the competition, taking first with a team score of just 35 points. The second place team, Oklahoma State, had 105 points.

The Hawkeyes' team goal was to recover from the 2009 season by qualifying for the NCAA championships this year, but the seventh-place finish pushed the team out of contention for an at-large bid once again.

Iowa's top runner Betsy Flood earned All-Region honors when she finished ninth in 20:22.71 — the fifth-best 6K time in school history. Flood shattered her previous 6K record from this season's Big Ten championships by 14 seconds, and she earned an individual at-large bid to the NCAA meet in Terre Haute, Ind., on Nov. 22.

Melander, Iowa's second runner, just missed All-Region honors when she finished just outside the top 25. She came in at 20:56.05 for a career-best time that placed her 27th. Her time is the sixth-best in school history.

Redshirt freshman Megan Ranegar was Iowa's third runner. She took 43rd overall and now holds the 10th-best 6K time in school history at 21:15.34. Seniors Amanda and Lauren Hardesty closed the Hawkeyes team scoring finishing 63rd (21:37.35) and 66th (21:40.91), respectively. It was the Hardesty sisters' last race as Hawkeyes.

Junior Brooke Eilers and sophomore Kelsey Hart also competed. Eilers finished 75th posting a time of 21:47.36, and Hart took 87th at 21:51.95 — a personal best.

"I do not think anyone has any regrets," Flood said. "Everyone ran a hard race, and though the results weren't what we wanted, there was nothing else we could have done."

The Hawkeyes struggled with putting together a solid race from all competitors in previous meets this season, and the team hoped to prevent that from recurring.

Four personal-best times prove this was not a factor in the regional, but the Hawkeyes still felt they were capable of more.

"I think a lot of people raced well," Lauren Hardesty said. "But I still think we have more talent than we showed just from looking at past accomplishments from group as a whole."

The final result of the competition was disappointing for the Hawkeyes, but they agreed this season has had a positive effect on the team that will be reflected in their track and field season.

"Even though this has not been the picture-perfect season, I have learned so much and gained great insight and relationships with my team," Flood said.


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