Cross-country team hosts lone home meet of season

Emily Hejlik

The ISU cross-country teams are ready to host their lone home meet of the 2012 season.

This Saturday marks the annual Iowa Intercollegiate meet that will take place at the ISU Cross-Country Course.

“We are going to use this as a workout meet to take the next step in our season,” said associate coach Travis Hartke. “This will be the first meet of the season for a lot of our runners — we are a young team on both sides [men’s and women’s], so it gives people race experience.”

The women’s 5,000-meter race is scheduled to start at 10 a.m., with the men’s 8,000-meter race is expected to start at 10:30 a.m.

Schools competing against the Cyclones include Des Moines Area Community College, Grand View, Indian Hills, Iowa Lakes, Missouri, Marshalltown Community College, North Iowa Area Community College, UW-Lacrosse, Wartburg and Waldorf.

A season ago, the women’s squad dominated the Iowa Intercollegiate meet with Maddy Becker claiming the women’s title, finishing the 4,000-meter course in 18:56.

On the men’s side, Besu Shannon-Tamrat won the 8,000-meter race in a time of 26:35.

The Cyclone women earned the top-16 spots of the results while the men collected the top-11 spots. Both the men and women won the team title as well.

Redshirt sophomore Josh Heitkamp expects another commanding performance.

“Our team’s expectations are to win; anything less would be considered a failure,” Heitkamp said. “Individually, I would like to be in the top seven.”

Even with the upcoming home meet, preparation during the week hasn’t changed.

“[Tuesday] was a pre-meet workout, so we practiced at race pace,” Heitkamp said. “Otherwise, no one is dropping mileage since this is a smaller meet.”

The Iowa Intercollegiate will be a gage of where the team is in terms of fitness and is also an opportunity for runners to focus on the mental aspects involved in a collegiate race.

“Individually, I want to be mentally composed and be as ready to race as I can,” said redshirt sophomore Maggie Gannon. “This meet is valuable for us to develop for the Roy Griak Invitational in Minnesota in two weeks.”

With expectations of success for the Cyclones, the ultimate goal for the weekend is not all about winning.

“The most important thing for us is getting used to keeping the spread between our first and fifth runners a short distance,” Gannon said. “This was our Achilles’ heel last season, and in order to win nationals, we need to run as a pack.”

Saturday will be another stepping-stone toward the goal of winning a national title.