Women’s cross-country three-peat at regionals, eye nationals; men end season with eighth-place finish

Mark Specht

The ISU women’s cross-country team passed on doing its normal pre-meet workout and opted instead to do a more challenging hill workout before the NCAA Midwest Regional meet.

Working through the Midwest Regional didn’t keep the Cyclone women from winning the meet for a third-straight year.

“We didn’t really need to feel perfect this weekend to be able to accomplish our goals at the regional meet, so we decided to kind of work through last week,” said senior Meaghan Nelson.

Senior Besty Saina repeated as champion of the meet and was followed by Meaghan Nelson (fourth), freshman Crystal Nelson (16th), junior Samantha Bluske (17th), sophomore Katy Moen (25th), junior Taylor Petersen (28th) and redshirt freshman Colleen Riley (50th).

But the Cyclone women walked away from the meet not feeling completely satisfied with how they ran.

Associate coach Travis Hartke said that although the team didn’t run its best race, it did what it needed to do to get to nationals. 

This was paramount, he said, despite the runners not feeling their best because they didn’t do their normal pre-meet workout.

“Leaving regionals, we were kind of disappointed because we know we didn’t feel the best and didn’t race to our full ability but then again we would rather have it be [at regionals] than [at nationals],” Bluske said.

The ISU men’s team came into the Midwest Regional with a chance of making it to nationals, but its season came to an end after finishing eighth overall.

Hartke saw the men’s team in fourth place through 8 kilometers, but said the runners “fell apart” during the last leg of the race.

Sophomore Edward Kemboi finished 21st overall, coming one place short of qualifying for the national meet as an individual. 

Junior Mohammed Hrezi finished right after Kemboi in 22nd place.

“Early on, especially at [the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational] we did what we needed to do to put ourselves in position to get an at-large bid for nationals, then [at regionals] we just didn’t get it done,” said senior Charlie Paul. “Just a lack of execution really.”

The Cyclone women will race for the national championship on Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. The team will leave for Louisville on Nov. 14.

“We’ve been talking about nationals all year and now it’s finally here,” Nelson said. “It’s definitely time to get excited.”