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Breaking of the Pack

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

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The Big Ten Preview brought top competitors to Iowa City this past weekend for women’s cross-country, and that showed in the results.

The Hawkeyes’ top finisher was junior Jocelyn Todd, who finished 27th in the 6,000-meter race with a time of 22:21.

“This is my last year. I just want to make every race my best, and at one point I just felt good,” Todd said in a release. “This course and this team means a lot to me. I told myself, ‘You know what, if my team feels good they’ll go with me, if not, I have to do this for me.’ ”

Iowa was capitalizing on its biggest strength at the beginning of the race, running in a pack. But as the time went on, Hawkeye runners found themselves staggered in the back, and the race was on for second place.

Michigan sophomore Erin Finn had control of the lead the whole race, finishing at 20:36. The runner closest to Finn was junior teammate Shannon Osika, who finished 40 seconds later.

Finn was three seconds away from beating the course record set by Michigan State’s Danette Doetzel in 2004 with a time of 20:33.

While other Big Ten teams got a feel of the course for the upcoming Big Ten championships set to run at Ashton Cross-Country Course, the Hawkeyes will focus on moving forward.

“I thought we were capable of a better effort,” head coach Layne Anderson said in a release. “We could have been a little big further up in the pack and a little more competitive with Northwestern and Wisconsin.”

Wisconsin and Northwestern finished second and third as a team, while Michigan dominated the course and the score, finishing first.

Kansas State finished fourth, and the Hawkeyes ended up in last place.

Weather affected the difficult course with rain entering halfway through the race. This caused the ground to become wet and slippery making Ashton a tough course to run.

Despite the rain, sophomore Katie Adams finished behind Todd after leading the team to a second-place finish at Illinois State on Sept. 12. Adams crossed the finish line at 22:27, placing 29th. Adams started off strong at the beginning of the race running close to the top-10 pack.

“I think everyone did their best on that given day. Obviously, it wasn’t where we had hoped to be in the overall standings of the meet, but I truly believe our best races are yet to come and will use that hope of improvement for motivation in the weeks ahead,” Adams said.

Other Hawkeye finishers include sophomore Samantha Zishka (31st/22:31), sophomore Tess Wilberding (36th/22:42), and junior Courtney Martin (40th/23:08).

Furthermore, the young Hawkeye team stayed strong through race despite separating from the pack.

This race showed the Hawkeyes what it will take to compete at not only a Big Ten level but a national level. They will use this race to prove that they are better than what they showed on Sept. 20 and to prove that the Hawkeyes are not the same team come Nov. 2 when they have the chance to compete on their home course at the Big Tens.

“We will have to race better than we did today,” Anderson said in a release. “It’s time to get back to work.”

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


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