ISU men’s cross-country team nears nationals


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 cross-country team finds itself at the doorstep of its season goal: to make the NCAA Championship meet.

To accomplish their goal, the Cyclones will need to either finish in the top two in the NCAA Midwest Regional meet Nov. 9 or enter through an at-large process. The teams that enter the at-large process will be those who have beaten others in races throughout the season.

Cross-country coach Corey Ihmels called the at-large process “a bit complicated,” but he is optimistic about the team’s chance of making nationals.

“I think we’re in a great spot,” Ihmels said. “Coming off of the [Wisconsin Adidas Invitational] we beat some really good teams. We made great progress, and I don’t think we’ve missed a beat since the meet.”

Ihmels and assistant coach Travis Hartke were both pleased with the practices the men’s team has had in preparation for the Big 12 Championships this Saturday.

“We’re very, very deep right now; we’ve got a lot of good training groups,” Hartke said. ”Other than our freshman I think anybody could really be in our top 10 going into the [Big 12 Championships].”

Outside of sophomore Edwin Serem, who is struggling with a leg injury, Ihmels said the Cyclone men are fairly healthy considering it is near the end of the season.

A few team members, like redshirt freshman Brian Llamas, have even returned to the team recently after suffering injuries earlier in the season.

If the team is able to make the NCAA Championship meet, it will be looking to finish the season ranked in the top 20 nationally.

“We really think that with the guys we have right now and [with] our training structure, we’ll be running [our] best in a couple of weeks,” said senior Charlie Paul. “But that’s all contingent on getting [to the NCAA Championship meet] first.”