ISU cross country hosts Memorial Classic Saturday

Zac Reicks

Both the ISU men’s and women’s cross country teams return to action this weekend, hosting the ISU Memorial Classic at the ISU cross-country course.

With the NCAA Championships coming to Ames in a little less than a month, many of the nation’s top teams will be on hand to set the stage for what will be one of the country’s most competitive meets this year.

ISU women’s coach, Dick Lee, knows this meet is a prime chance to see just what his team will be able to achieve in 2000.

“We will really see how good we are this weekend,” Lee said. “There is only one meet [the NCAA Championships] with more ranked teams, so this is as good as time as ever.”

Team captain and senior leader Laurie Meythaler also recognizes the opportunity the team is presented with this weekend.

“You don’t get very many chances to run against such quality teams,” Meythaler said. “Everyone will need to give a great effort for us to be successful.”

After the Cyclones placed second at the North Carolina Greensboro meet two weeks ago, Coach Lee knows that his runners are excited about the opportunity to carry their success to even a larger level.

“The girls are very excited about such a big challenge,” Lee said. “If you can’t get excited for a big of a meet as this, you have no business competing at the Division I level.”

Both Lee and his harriers know that they have a realistic chance of finishing in the top 25 of the 59 teams that will be there. And with 20 of the top 30 teams in the country coming to Ames, this would be a great accomplishment for the Cyclone women.

“To give a conservative prediction, I think we can finish in the top 25,” Lee said.

“I’d much rather have us go out and exceed expectations than not meet them at all,” he said.

Another team hoping to exceed expectations for this weekend will be ISU men’s cross country team.

Coach Kevin Bourke is finally getting his runners back to full health and realizes what it means to have one or two of his top runners back on the team.

“Mike Mwangong, who has been our leader, has been battling a bad case of bronchitis,” Bourke said. “He hasn’t been able to train like we have wanted him too, but he has been running well at the meets.”

One of Mwangong’s Kenyan counterparts, Daniel Kinyua, is also close to full health for this meet as well.

“Daniel Kinyua will be competing for the first time this weekend, and the whole team is really excited to have him back.” Bourke said.

“When you have an All-American who hasn’t been there the last couple of weeks, it makes a big difference in everyone’s attitude, because you know you have a better team,” he said.

Coach Bourke and his squad want to show the country their team has improved in a meet where 15 of the top 25 teams will be in attendance.

“Being in the top 25 would be a really good accomplishment,” Bourke said.

“With 57 teams running on our course, a finish that high would definitely be a great achievement for my team,” he said.