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Cross country ready for Big Ten competition

BY SHELBY STITES | SEPTEMBER 19, 2014 5:00 AM

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The positive momentum and pack mentality that the Hawkeyes ran with on Sept. 12 at Illinois State could drive them to the finish line on Saturday at the Big Ten Preview meet on the Ashton Cross-Country Course.

“I feel good about where we are with our fitness and health,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “We work each and every weekend to run in packs, and we are now applying that with success.”

The Hawkeyes come into this weekend with two meets under their belt, more experience and confidence on the course, and a U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association Regional Ranking of 10th.

Redshirt freshman Courtney Bruns and sophomore Katie Adams have been Iowa’s top finishers so far this season. Bruns débuted at the Bulldog 4K Classic, finishing in eighth place with a time of 15:08. Adams led the Hawkeyes to a second-place finish at the Illinois State Invitational by running a personal best time of 17:51 in the 5,000 meter, placing sixth overall.

This weekend, Adams hopes to use the success from her performance as fuel and motivation for the Big Ten preview.

“Getting a personal best is definitely a confidence booster for me, but I know there is still a lot more work to be done,” she said.

The Hawks running Saturday will include Kelly Breen, Courtney Bruns, Lindsey Bruns, Marta Bote Gonzalez, Carolyn Newhouse, and Anne Reischmann.

The Hawkeyes have a lot of work to do entering this weekend’s meet in order to compete against the Big Ten powerhouses of No. 1 Michigan and No. 16 Wisconsin.

Michigan junior Shannon Osika earned the Big Ten’s first Women’s Cross-Country Athlete of the Week this season with her third-straight Michigan Open victory.

The Badgers young cross-country team hasn’t competed since Sept. 5 at the Badger-Season Opener. In that meet, Wisconsin took its third Badger Opener title in the past four years with three of the runners taking the top three spots.

Northwestern is the other Big Ten school that will come to Iowa City to compete. The Wildcats have seen the Badgers earlier in the season — they earned second at the Badger-Season Opener.

Kansas State is also scheduled to run despite being a Big 12 school.

These national rankings do not scare Anderson and his team; they see it more as an early season opportunity.

The previous meets have provided the Hawkeyes with confidence and added racing fitness. Anderson sees these qualities needed for future success from the program.

“Our goal is to once again race as a pack and show visible signs of improvement.” Anderson said.

Home-course advantage will hopefully find its way into the Hawkeyes times.

“A big advantage of racing at home will just be the fact that it’s familiar,” junior Lisa Gordon said. “We get to race on a course we know in front of people we know.”

This meet will give Big Ten competitors a sneak peek at the Big Ten championship course — the Hawkeyes will host the event Nov. 2.

The action will begin at 8 a.m. Saturday with the women’s 6,000 meters starting the competition.
“I expect us to compete well and show visible signs of another week of training and racing,” Anderson said.

Follow @shelbystites on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa women’s cross-country team.


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