Morgan Casey mends injury while women’s cross-country hits ground running


Photo: Rebekka Brown/Iowa State Daily

Kellien Oettle, left, and Morgan Casey, right, run neck and neck Saturday during the Iowa Intercollegiate at the ISU cross country course.

Mark Specht

With its 2012 season set to start officially this Saturday at the Iowa Intercollegiate race in Ames, the reigning Big 12 champion ISU women’s cross-country team has been busy preparing.

“Training doesn’t change from year-to-year too much,” said assistant coach Travis Hartke. “We’re doing a lot of tempo runs, a long run each week and hills.”

Hartke said he sees the team as potentially having five to six All-Americans. The team is currently ranked No. 5 in the nation in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association poll.

“Honestly, I think our team is so fit right now, that it’s almost scary,” said junior Morgan Casey. “Everyone is fit, and everyone is on the same page. You can have a lot of fit individuals, or you can have a really fit team — and we have a fit team.”

Casey recently fractured her elbow and sprained her wrist while recuperating from a lower back and glute injury. She said was using a balance board while having a conversation with someone when she lost her balance and fell.

“The balancing part was the easy part of it, but it was the focus part that I struggled with,” Casey said. 

Casey said it will be about a month until she will be able to participate fully in team workouts. Her lower back and glute injury still lingers as well. And while there is a redshirt year available to her, she is optimistic she will be able to compete this season.

“I think I’m going to come back, because I’m not going to sit here with a negative attitude,” Casey said. “But if I can’t, then I’m going to make myself useful to the team in other ways.”

Casey said this year’s team is better than the 2011 team was at this point in the season, adding that they will be “a force to be reckoned with at the end of the season.”

“We’re definitely better than we were last year,” Hartke said. “I think we’re deeper than we were last year.”