Cyclone cross country looks for big things at Big 12 meet

Zac Reicks

This Saturday, the ISU men’s and women’s cross country teams will venture to Boulder Colorado to compete at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships.

Held at Buffalo Ranch on the University of Colorado’s southern campus, the men’s 8,000-meter race will begin at 11 a.m. with the women’s 6,000-meter race starting at noon.

Men’s Head Coach Kevin Bourke will be leading his troops into buffalo country coming off a humiliating performance at the ISU Classic.

The Cyclone mentor is hoping that the team is able to rebound well after two weeks of intensive practice and rehabilitation from injuries.

Mike Mwangong and Daniel Kinyua, two of Iowa State’s top runners, are slowly rounding into shape after having both injuries and sickness take there toll on the health of these team leaders. Bourke knows the importance of having both of these runners in top shape, especially Kinyua.

“Kinyua coming back to finish [the] season is a big advantage for us,” Bourke said. “We look forward to seeing Daniel improve and run well at the conference and district meets.”

The Cyclone women are also hoping to erase the past disappointment of the ISU Classic by turning in a strong performance at Saturday’s championships.

ISU Women’s Coach Dick Lee has his team primed and ready for the difficult challenge that lies ahead of them.

“The kids are really looking forward to it. Conservatively, we’re looking at a top five or six team finish,” Lee said.

“We can’t control how other teams do; if they run a great race they could move above us.”

A key part to the team’s success on Saturday will be the performance of sophomore Kelly Brinkman. Lee has high expectations for his young standout and hopes she is able to hold up under the rigors of Big 12 competition.

“[Brinkman] could probably be projected to finish in the top 10 for individuals,” Lee said. “Hopefully she will be one of the top five finishers in the conference.”

Both the Wildcats and Buffaloes are fielding excellent teams this year and will set the standard for a very competitive meet this weekend.

“Colorado is considered the favorite, followed by Kansas State,” Lee said. “Both teams have some outstanding individuals and Colorado has some quality depth,” Lee said.