Cyclones run in uncharted territory

Caitlyn Diimig

For first time in program history, the ISU cross-country teams will participate in the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis.

This meet is replacing the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill., and Pre-Nationals in Terre Haute, Ind., both in which the team competed in years past.

“It’s going to be probably as a good as the national race,” said coach Corey Ihmels.

The meet will be more competitive than the Pre-National race this year because a change of venue led to teams committing to other races such as the Wisconsin Adidas Invite.

“This race is probably better than [Pre-Nationals] is competitive and team-wise,” said senior Dani Stack. “I’m excited to see where we’re at, but I think we still have a long way to go.”

Stack said she is ready for the team to begin racing again as it has not raced in three weeks since its first-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis. However, Stack said she does not believe the race will determine how the team will do at Nationals.

“I think it’s just going to be another stepping stone,” Stack said.

The women’s defending champion is Syracuse, which surpassed Iowa State in the most recent USTFCCCA rankings released Oct. 4.

“I pay attention to rankings a little bit, but honestly I don’t think rankings really matter,” Stack said. “I think it’s really about where you’re at at the end of the year.”

There are 18 teams ranked nationally and 10 teams, including Iowa State, ranked in the top 15 that will be competing in Wisconsin, making it hard for the women to pull out a win.

“There’s 40 teams on both sides, and it’s all the top teams in the country,” Ihmels said. “We could run a really good race and be 10th.”

Ihmels is worried runners will get psyched out by the size and pace of the race, but freshman Edward Kemboi, who has never run in a race of this caliber, is looking forward to it.

“If it’s fast, it’ll boost my time,” Kemboi said.

The men’s team is currently unranked and faces even stiffer competition than the women. There are 20 ranked teams competing at the event, eight of which are in the top 10.

“My biggest concern is that we leave the course feeling good about what happened and are ready to roll in two weeks for the conference,” Ihmels said.