Women seek repeat win, men aim for bid to nationals


Photo: Jordan Maurice/Iowa State Daily

The ISU men’s and women’s cross-country teams compete in the Iowa Intercollegiate meet Sept. 17 in Ames.

Caitlyn Diimig

The men’s and women’s cross-country teams will compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional meet this Saturday in DeKalb, Ill.

The women are ranked No. 1 and pursuing a repeat win.

“We have to guard against showing up and expecting it to happen,” said coach Corey Ihmels. “I think if we come ready to run and do what we’re capable of doing we’ve got a shot.”

Last year, the women’s team scored 35 points for the Regional crown. The next fastest team was Oklahoma, which totaled 105 points.

Leading for Iowa State was second-place finisher Betsy Saina, who finished the 6,000-meter race in 20:01.54. The team will rely on Saina to finish near the top again.

After winning this year’s Big 12 Conference title, the women hope to continue their successful season.

“People will be expecting us to win,” said senior India Lee. “They’ll be watching out for us.”

At the Big 12 Championships, Lee, usually the No. 5 point-scorer for Iowa State, fell back as junior Taylor Petersen picked up the pace in her place.

“It was a high-pressure race,” Lee said. “Once I actually got into the race, I panicked and tightened up and didn’t run so well.”

The women’s team has been training to fix race-day kinks and most said they feel prepared for regionals.

“I think something will have to go really wrong for us not to win,” Lee said.

The men’s team will be aiming to outdo its finish at the Big 12 Championships. The men placed fifth overall at Big 12’s and will be attempting to place third or fourth at regionals to have a shot at qualifying for nationals.

“It’s a little bit of a dog fight,” Ihmels said. “I think Minnesota is beatable, but they’ve been running well all year long.”

Ihmels said Oklahoma State and Oklahoma will most likely take the top two spots.

Senior Rico Loy, a consistent top finisher for Iowa State, has been to nationals twice, missing out on last year’s race by one spot.

“I really want to get in the top 10,” Loy said. “I’m going to give everything I have.”

Sophomore Martin Coolidge is also in contention for an individual spot at Nationals.

“If both [Loy and Coolidge] are in a spot where they’re going to have an opportunity to get through as individuals then we’re probably going to have a good chance of doing well as a team,” Ihmels said.