Cross-country comes off 2011-12 season looking to improve


Photo:Kendra Plathe/Iowa State D

Junior Meaghan Nelson and senior Dani Stack run laps during cross-country practice at Lied Recreation Athletic Center on Tuesday, Nov. 8. Nelson finished second in the Big 12 Conference 6,000-meter race with a time of 19:33.80 while Stack finished sixth, both earning All-Big 12 honors. 

Caitlyn Diimig

Women’s Cross-country

Last year’s team earned an eighth-place finish at nationals. The finish was in part due to the trio of Betsy Saina, Meaghan Nelson and Dani Stack, who all finished in the top 30 to become All-Americans.

Stack has finished all her years of eligibility for cross-country, but Saina and Nelson will be returning this fall.

“We return two All-Americans, and those two have gotten a lot better since cross-country,” said coach Corey Ihmels.

The women’s team also won its first-ever Big 12 Conference championship and won NCAA Regionals for the second consecutive year.

Saina earned a first-place finish in the 5,000-meter at the Indoor Track and Field Championships and as of May 4, currently holds the world’s best outdoor 10,000-meter time this year with 31:15:97. Nelson also earned the top third collegiate 10,000-meter time in the nation as of May 4.

Ihmels said stepping up next season will be sophomore Morgan Casey and redshirt freshman Katy Moen. He said he thinks they both have the potential to become All-Americans.

“We want to improve on our seventh-place finish,” Ihmels said. “We want to be in the top six. I think that’s the next step.”

Men’s Cross-country

The men had a disappointing finish to last year’s season when they did not qualify to race at nationals. The men finished their season sixth at the regional finals.

Last year’s men’s team was made up of young, inexperienced runners. The team has gained experience and is only losing one runner in senior Rico Loy, who has completed his cross-country eligibility.

“There’s not much expected out of them,” Ihmels said. “I think we’ve got a crew that’s coming back that can get to nationals and wants to make some noise at the conference level.”

Next year’s potential leaders will be sophomore Martin Coolidge and freshman Edward Kemboi, both of whom had successful seasons last year. At the NCAA Regional race, Kemboi placed 28th, and Coolidge placed 29th.

Ihmels said there were many, such as freshman Edwin Serem, who redshirted last year that will make an impact.

“This groups got the leadership and the potential athletically to get to nationals,” Ihmels said.