Captains bring experience for ISU women’s cross-country


ISU cross-country runner Katy Moen makes her way down a slope during the 6K run during the NCAA Cross-Country National Championships on Nov. 17 at E.P. Tom Sawyer Park. Moen would finish 139th out of the 253 total runners. The ISU team placed 11th as a team.

Ryan Young

A new wave of leaders is stepping in to take the reins.

Senior Samantha Bluske and juniors Maggie Gannon and Katy Moen are three veteran runners on the ISU women’s cross-country team and have been named this year’s captains.

This is the first season in recent history that team captains were named, something ISU coach Andrea Grove-McDonough feels is an important aspect of any team.

“Being named a captain really establishes respect within the girls, and gives that extra sense of leadership within the team,” Grove-McDonough said. “It’s an honor for the girls to hold that status. Those three really do deserve it.”

Bluske, a fifth-year senior, is a transfer student from Illinois State. She joined the Cyclones in 2011 and redshirted that season.

“The main reason I transferred to [Iowa State] was because I wanted to be a part of a program that was bigger than myself. I wanted to experience things like winning Big 12 championships,” Bluske said. “To finally get a chance to be a role model for the team and be one of the girls everyone looks up to just means the world to me.”

Last season Bluske earned second-team Academic All-Big 12, finished ninth at the Big 12 Championships and was among the top Cyclones to finish at the NCAA Championships.

Since it is Bluske’s fifth and final season, she has high hopes for herself and for the team.

“I really want to finish my career with no regrets. That’s my motto this year,” Bluske said. “I think that’ll just come by devoting myself 100 percent to this team and what we want to accomplish. If we can have fun and work hard, I know we can accomplish anything we set out to do.”

Gannon and Moen bring a lot of experience to the table as well. Moen finished 14th at the Big 12 Championships last season, and finished in the top 30 at the West Regional meet. She was also named to the Academic All-Big 12 first-team.

Gannon finished in the top 40 at the Big 12 Championship meet and has been named to the Academic All-Big 12 first-team two years in a row.

While the runners all say being named captain is a huge honor, Moen knows she and the team need to stay focused and not let the title change anything.

“Honestly it’s just a title. It doesn’t change who I am or who the team is,” Moen said, about being named captain. “I’m still expecting the team to show up and compete every day and really put their hearts in it.

“Hopefully that can take us where we want to go by the end of the season.”