Hawkeye men's cross-country team returns


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The Iowa men’s cross-country team’s three-week break comes to an end as the Hawkeyes return to competition Saturday. The harriers will travel to Minneapolis to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational.

During the break, the runners have worked on interval training, putting in more miles, racing situations, and getting base mileage up to a faster pace. Head coach Larry Wieczorek would ideally like to compete every other week, but he said his team has benefited from the break.

“They got better every day,” he said. “We’ve had more quality workouts, challenged them a bit more, and, most importantly, worked on working more as a team.”

The team has also hit the hills to prepare for the course they will run on at the invitational. With such a long break, the Hawks have also been able to spend more time focusing on training rather than resting from a prior meet.

This meet will not be an easy race for the Hawkeyes, because they will face tougher competition. Minnesota, ranked No. 16 in the nation  and on its home turf, will prove to be a challenge.

Other teams will include No. 36 Iowa State and No. 37 Weber State. Wieczorek isn’t daunted at the tough competition, and he looks forward to seeing how the Hawkeyes will stack up against Big Ten rival Minnesota.

It will be essential that senior Nick Holmes is up to par, after a disappointing 12th-place finish in his first meet of the season. In 2011, Holmes was the top finisher for the Hawkeyes at the Griak, finishing 20th at 24:36.

Holmes’ health continues to improve, and Wieczorek expects a solid performance.
“He’s had three good weeks of training,” he said. “I’ve seen his confidence restored, and I look for him to take a step forward this weekend.”

Of the freshmen in the lineup, Anthony Gregorio has high expectations for not just himself but the team as well, saying that now, the Hawks are more prepared than they were three weeks ago.

“We weren’t really ready to go [for the first meets],” he said. “We didn’t have many workouts put in before it.”

The higher level of competition doesn’t worry the freshman. In high school, he was used to competing at a high level, and he plans to use that experience to help him.

After a month of training, the native of Palatine, Ill., said he is now a stronger runner. Gregorio prepares himself for a difficult meet by simply looking at it as an opportunity to get better.

“I don’t look at it as nerve-racking; be calm, and approach it as another workout,” he said.

Junior Jon Michael Brandt said the Hawks expect the strength of the Minnesota program will give them a good run, but Iowa can give the Gophers an equally good run.

“I don’t think they’re expecting us to do anything,” he said. “We’re a young team, but we have a lot of potential. I don’t think they’re ready for us.”

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