Hawkeye trackster uses NCAA top-10 finish at cross-country championships


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On Nov. 17, one Hawkeye quietly ended her season as a top athlete in her sport.

Mareike Schrulle placed seventh at the NCAA cross-country meet in Louisville, Ky., with a time of 19:43. That was good enough for second all-time in Iowa history. But the road to that sub-20 run was difficult.

Schrulle came to Iowa as a graduate student from Arnsburg, Germany, in 2011 with a nagging ankle injury that caused her some early troubles. But after off-season surgery in June, Schrulle is 100 percent healthy heading into her final track season as a Hawkeye.

“The whole cross-country season definitely gave me a lot of confidence in my ability to run,” she said. “As long as I’m still healthy, I can run fast, so that made me excited for track.”

Schrulle said that her first trip to national meet this past November has given her motivation to do the same this track season.  However, she isn’t taking anything for granted.

“I think it’ll be hard for the indoor season, because they only have the 3,000 meter race and 5,000 meter race,” she said. “It’s definitely my goal for outdoor [track season].”

Head coach Layne Anderson believes that Schrulle’s performance in the cross-country season provides inspiration for her teammates, including the numerous freshmen on the squad.

“It’s been a real positive thing for the distance group, because they had the opportunity to witness it firsthand this fall,” he said. “They’ve been around her every day. It lends a certain amount of inspiration for everybody.”

For track season, Schrulle will run the longer races, including the 3,000 meter, 5,000 meter, and 6,000 meter. Anderson saiad this doesn’t pose as much of a difficult transition for her as other cross-country runners who run much shorter races, for example, the mile.

“We did endurance and strength for cross-country, but now, we have to work on speed to run a fast 3 [kilometer] race or mile,” Schrulle said.

When given the choice between cross-country and track, the answer is obvious to her.

“I definitely like cross-country better,” she said quickly. “I think it’s more fun because it’s not just running in loops. It’s more scenic. There are different courses, rather than just having a track.”

Anderson’s distance group has only four seniors and two graduate students — including Schrulle. Teammate and captain Megan Ranegar said the older women on the team have grown close because of their similar ages.

“There’s a camaraderie of us being here for a couple years,” Ranegar said. “We have the same vision and goals for our team as a whole and individually.”

Ranegar said that Schrulle has taken on a leadership role on the squad because of her graduate student status.

“She leads more by example than vocally,” Ranegar said. “She doesn’t have to tell anyone to do it — she just does it herself, and everyone else follows along.”

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