Cyclones prepare for tough competition in Minnesota

Caitlyn Diimig

The Iowa State men’s and women’s cross-country team will take on its toughest competition of the year so far this Saturday.

The teams will compete at the Roy Griak Invitational held at the Les Bolstad Golf Course near Minneapolis.

“The biggest competition for us is to be able to go out and control the tempo early, control our run, and not get too excited too early and have a good last half of the race,” said coach Corey Ihmels. “If we do that the scores will take care of themselves.”

Ihmels has been controlling paces and tempos of each runner at the past two races in preparation for this meet.

The Cyclone women are ranked No. 1 in the Midwest according to a U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll. The poll also ranks the women No. 8 nationally, up from No. 10 at the beginning of the season.

Other top-ranked women’s teams that will be competing include No. 10 Arizona and No. 11 Washington.

“It’s going to be fun,” said senior Betsy Saina. “We’re going to see where we’re at.”

Saina said she couldn’t predict where the team is at competitively until after Saturday’s race.

Last year Saina placed sixth in the 6,000-meter race with a time of 21:16.13 helping the team to finish third overall.

“My personal goal is to work as a team and to see how well are team will go,” Saina said.

The men’s team is currently ranked sixth in the Midwest and unranked nationally by the USTFCCCA. They will face tough competition against number two Wisconsin and number 24 Minnesota.

Last year the men placed seventh. Senior Rico Loy is among one of the returning competitors. He placed second for the team and 20th overall with a time of 24.49.70 for the 8,000-meter course.

“Both groups are better prepared as a whole coming into this meet; we’re maybe just not as race ready as we maybe we were last year,” Ihmels said.

Griak allows teams to run a maximum of twelve runners in the meet from each team. Ihmels will use this race to determine the top seven for both men and women’s teams for future meets.

“It’s a double edged sword – you want to open up the season really well, but at the end of the day it’s kind of a curse to run well there because sometimes it goes down hill from there,” Ihmels said.