Men hope to compete, women repeat at Big 12 Championships


Photo: Katie Hansen/Iowa State Daily

Cross-country runners head towards the finish line, Sept. 15, 2012, at the Iowa Intercollegiate cross-country meet in Ames. The women’s team placed first overall. The men saw one of its runners place first but ultimately fell to second place in overall score.

Mark Specht

The ISU men’s and women’s cross-country teams are headed to Austin, Texas, to compete in the Big 12 Championships on Saturday, Oct. 27.

The women’s team is aiming to repeat as champions of the conference, while the men’s team continues its push toward qualifying for the NCAA Championships in November.

“Both [the men’s and women’s teams] are ready to roll, and hopefully, we’ll have good result in a few days,” said Head Coach Corey Ihmels.

The Cyclone women have managed a victory in all four races they have entered this season and recently worked their way up to the No. 2 ranking in the nation.

Ihmels expressed a great deal of confidence in his women’s team and its ability to repeat as Big 12 champions.

Ihmels said “getting in the way of their own fitness” will be the women’s biggest challenge at the Big 12 Championships. Ihmels added that the home team Texas, along with Oklahoma State, will push the women.

Ihmels’ biggest hope for the women’s team is that it doesn’t go into the race expecting a win to come easily.

“I think we ran so well two weeks ago [at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational] that the tendency is to just expect it to go well,” Ihmels said.

Senior Samantha Bluske said the team is hoping to have four girls in the top-10 and the team’s fifth runner not far behind.

“If we do what our goal is, we should have no problem winning,” Bluske said. “We’re not doing anything different than we have any other race.”

The No. 25 men’s team is pushing for a top-three finish as it faces stiff competition in No. 1 Oklahoma State, No. 6 Oklahoma, No. 7 Texas and No. 30 Kansas. 

“Anywhere from third to fourth we would be happy,” said Senior Charlie Paul. “If the race goes right and we run our race, we could hopefully have one of those top-three teams on the ropes at the end.”

Both the men’s and women’s teams will be in Austin, Texas on Friday to prepare for the race on Saturday. The women’s 6,000-meter race will begin at 10 a.m., followed by the men’s 8,000-meter at 11 a.m.