Cyclone cross country finishes season at regionals

Mark Pawlak

The ISU men’s and women’s cross country teams completed their seasons at the NCAA Midwest Regional Saturday in Carbondale, Ill.

The Cyclone men placed 10th as a team in the 24-team competition.

Mike Mwangong was the top Cyclone finisher, placing eighth individually by completing the 10 kilometer course in 30:51.3. Mwangong finished seconds behind the top time of 30:37.3 clocked by Shadrack Kimeli from Kansas State.

Mwangong was not able to qualify for the NCAA Championships, as only the top four finishers from each region that did not qualify as a team qualified individually and he was not selected for one of the two at-large berths Monday.

Chris Francois was the next Cyclone to finish, competing the course in 32:07.9 to place 50th.

Ben Fogarty also ran well for Iowa State, finishing 66th in 32:23.2.

Francois thought he ran his best race of the year.

“I had a hard two weeks training coming up to it. I worked hard, stayed positive, stayed focused on the race and everything worked out in my favor. I was pretty happy with it,” he said.

The Cyclones were able to defeat Big 12 foes Oklahoma, Kansas State and Missouri after struggling against them at the conference meet.

“I thought we did pretty good. We beat a lot of teams that beat us in the conference meet two weeks ago,” Francois said.

“We’re pretty proud about that. We had a tough conference race, but this weekend we did pretty good to beat those teams like we should have two weeks ago.”

Iowa State is looking to build on its solid finish for next season.

“I hope next year everybody stays healthy and we hopefully should have a chance of qualifying for nationals. We were hoping to have a chance this year but some of our top guys were not doing so great this year or weren’t healthy,” Francois said.

The ISU women finished 21st out of 23 teams.

Just as it has been for the entire season, head coach Dick Lee saw his team running shorthanded as his top three runners were injured and not able to compete.

Missing Kelly Brinkman, Cara Van Eck and Jessica Huff took something out of the Cyclones’ effort as a team.

“It takes for the entire team some of the excitement off when you know you are not going in full strength as a team,” Lee said. “It puts more pressure on those kids farther back. They are used to having a couple kids out in front of them and it helps them run faster.”

Monica Erickson was the first Cyclones’ runner to cross the finish line, placing 60th by completing the 6K course in 22:47.1.

Elisabeth Fischer placed 116th and Andrea Crapisi finished in 135th place to round out the top three ISU finishers.

Lee will be looking to have a full roster at his disposal next season.

“All the kids are looking forward to that. They had a great attitude about this whole situation this year. It’s just one of those things you can’t control,” Lee said.

“They are all excited about the fact that we are going to have them all back next year along with the recruiting class we have coming in. We feel like we can jump right back and be back in the hunt again.”