Cyclones have sights set on conference title

Stephen Koenigsfeld

With a conference so resilient in each and every event, runners will aim to stay poised and hungry if they plan on coming home with a conference title at the Big 12 Championships in College Station, Texas.

Throughout the week, the runners became more and more excited about what they will be able to do in the conference championship this weekend.

“I’m so excited right now, everybody is doing great,” said distance runner Betsy Saina. “I’m so excited to have the three people: Dani [Stack], Meaghan [Nelson] and I running the 5K and 3K. Everyone is ready to go.”

After a week of recovering from minor illnesses and injuries, Stack said she is eager to compete.

“We have a chance for getting top five, and I think everyone is ready to go,” Stack said. “We’ve been seeing progress in the last couple of meets with all of our groups. I think this meet will show a lot of improving work with everyone.”

The women are just as excited as they are focused on what they have to accomplish this weekend. Competition will not cut the Cyclones a break this weekend.

“We could score a lot of points,” said assistant coach Travis Hartke. “These schools are going to put up so many good times, [but] we could score a lot in the distance races.”

Currently, the Big 12 is one of the most dominant conference track and field with five teams ranked better than No. 15 in the top 25 national polls. This sets the bar high for runners heading into the conference meet.

Stack commented on how well the distance runners have progressed over the course of the season and what she expects from them this weekend.

“We’re looking to score pretty well,” Stack said. “I think we will definitely score a lot of points for our team. All three of us should be in the top five in the 3[K] and the 5[K].”

One of the bigger stories on the women’s side of the track this season has been how well the distance squad has matched its success from the cross-country season this fall. Hartke expressed his expectations of the women this weekend.

“I think we could go one, two, three in the 5K and the 3K, there’s no reason we can’t,” Hartke said. “We’re the deepest team in the long distances on the women’s side.”