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What’s at stake for Iowa cross country?

BY SHELBY STITES | NOVEMBER 13, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa women’s cross-country team displayed another average performance at the Big Ten championships. Missed team opportunities were witnessed and ongoing preparation is taking place for this Friday’s NCAA Midwest Regional.

Nine regionals will be run throughout the nation this coming Friday. Iowa will compete in the Midwestern Regional along with a variety of other Midwest schools.

All Division I teams are invited to participate in their designated regional; however, some teams will choose to not race, or will only run a few athletes, based upon their inability to be competitive in the race.

The Hawkeyes will race against top competitors from Iowa, including Iowa State, which was regional champions in 2013, as well as teams from Illinois, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, North Dakota, South Dakota, Minnesota, and Nebraska.

The competition includes familiar teams Iowa has gone up against during the regular season and new matchups that will challenge its ability to seize this opportunity.

The outcomes from this race will determine which teams will be admitted to the NCAA championships in Terre Haute, Indiana. Two teams are automatically qualified into the NCAA championships after the regionals are taken place. Additionally, four individuals from the non-qualifying teams are advanced as well.

The remaining teams that make up the 31-team field are determined based upon a qualifying process determined by regular-season outcomes.

For the Hawkeyes, a full men’s and women’s squad of seven will be set to compete in Peoria, Illinois.

“We need to focus on rest and fine tuning our races,” coach Layne Anderson said. “We are in great shape and need to feel fresh and fast once the gun is fired.”

The Hawkeyes have not had a team qualify for the NCAA championships since the 2007 team with All-American Diane Nukuri. The Hawkeyes ended that historical season ranked No. 10 overall and were able to set high expectations for future Iowa runners.

These expectations include taking opportunities that will allow one to cross the finish line at the front of the pack.

“I think regionals is really exciting for our team because we are all motivated off of Big Tens to make bigger improvements,” sophomore Tess Wilberding said. “We all want to finish our season strong, so it is a good opportunity for everyone to do so.”

Finishing strong has been what Anderson has stressed to his runners all season long. And now, the challenge to remain competitive and capitalize on momentum arises for the chosen seven runners that will compete.

All of the races have led up to the Hawkeyes’ opportunity to have the Black and Gold racing at the NCAA championships once again.

“There is a little uncertainty with how we will stack up against other teams, but definitely no different pressure than what we are used to,” sophomore Katie Adams said. “We know we have to race our hardest, and that’s what we will do.”


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