Cross Country ready to defend program tradition at Big 12 Championships


(c)2020 Denny Medley/Random Photography

The Iowa State women’s cross country team won its eighth conference title in the last 10 years at the Big 12 Cross Country Championships in 2020. 

It’s the day the Iowa State cross country program has been waiting for.

The Iowa State Cross Country program will compete in the Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Friday in Stillwater, Okla., against a loaded Big 12 field.

The men’s cross country team finished the regular season with a second-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational and a team win at the Nuttycombe Invitational. 

And even with regular-season success coming in, the men’s team has bigger goals in mind and a championship to win — this time by an outright margin. The Cyclones took home a tie-breaking second-place finish at the Big 12 Championships in 2020 in Lawrence, Kan., and want to come back strong from a strange finish last season at the event.

“Every year is a battle with them,” said senior Thomas Pollard. “We know that, they know that. Last year with the tie-breaker was a tough way to lose but we’ve been looking forward to this and they make us better just like we make them better.”

Junior Welsey Kiptoo took home the Big 12 individual championship for the men’s team in 2020 and could be in line for a repeat.

The depth of the Cyclone men has allowed them to allocate people and get the most out of races in hopes of securing the win. This depth can also attest to the team being ranked number two in the country.

“I think this summer we had a lot of the key guys take a big step in their training,” Iowa State Director of Cross Country and Track and Field Jeremy Sudbury said. “And so initially, the depth was kind of a shock. We didn’t realize that we were gonna be basically 10 guys deep.” 

In the Nuttycombe Invitational, the Cyclone men place five runners in the top-30 to clinch the team win, showing an example of the depth the team has and can show off at the Big 12 meet.

The men’s race will begin at 10 a.m.

The Iowa State women’s cross country team finished the regular season with a team win at the Hawkeye Invitational, a second-place finish at the Roy Griak Invitational and a ninth-place finish at the Nuttycombe Invitational

And like the men’s team, they have their eyes set on bringing home the team title. The women’s team won the Big 12 Championships in 2020, led by senior Cailie Logue, who won her third-straight Big 12 individual title.

With new and veteran Cyclones in the race, they have the opportunity to showcase their talents. 

The depth of the Cyclone team is one to note, but so is the team chemistry and how they work together as not only teammates but friends. 

“This team is really like a family and I’ve really never been on a team like that where we’re like that,” senior Ashley Tutt said.

The team chemistry doesn’t just stop with the runners.

The faculty and coaches have been people the runners can look up to and learn lessons and skills outside of the cross country world.

“Coach Amy [Rudolph] is like a mom to us all,” Tutt said. 

The Cyclone women, now ranked 17th in the nation, have tangible and intangible skills that set them apart from the competition. 

The team placed ninth at a loaded Nuttycombe Invitational, with three women finishing in the top-50. This effort against multiple top-10 teams shows the team’s willingness to compete at high levels. 

The women’s 6k race will start at 11 a.m.