Men’s cross country wraps up regular season with midterm test

ISU men’s cross-country runners form a pack early in the race at the Big 12 Championships on Nov. 1.

Maggie Davis

Ah yes, midterms. The time of year where many college students find themselves busy with tests, projects, and homework as the halfway sign of the semester comes joyously into view.

This time of year marks a turning point in the semester for many students. They either put in the work they needed, or they’ve got some changes to make before finals.  

With the “finals” of the post-season fast approaching, the Iowa State men’s cross country team has a midterm of their own to take.  

Five weeks ago, the Cyclones opened their 2017 cross country season at the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa. 

And they’re itching to race again. 

Oct. 13 will mark the end of the regular season for the men’s cross country team, and only their second meet of the year. 

“We’re very hungry,” said assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury in a phone interview with the Daily on Tuesday. 

Sudbury was referring to the atmosphere on the team after head coach Martin Smith decided to have the men’s cross squad pull out of the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Sept. 23.

“Four of our top seven guys came down with a cold that progressed,” Sudbury said. “They came into practice sick on Monday, and then were still sick Tuesday.” 

One of the runners even had to go to the hospital that Wednesday night before they were scheduled to run at Minnesota. The next day, Smith released a statement that the Cyclones would not be competing at Griak due to illness. 

They missed an opportunity to earn “at-large” points that could play a role in contributing to a trip to the national championship down the road. Sudbury however believes it was a smart move, and said that they hadn’t wanted to risk dragging out any illness or potentially making things worse. 

Thus, the relatively short competitive cross country season was made even shorter, and now the team has a test to take in Wisconsin. 

The Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, is the last meet before Iowa State heads into the postseason, and it has quite the lineup of competitors attending. A large majority of the nationally ranked teams will be racing in Madison, including current No. 1 ranked Northern Arizona and No. 3 Syracuse. 

Also among the teams attending is fourth-ranked Stanford and sixth-ranked Southern Utah.

“It’s kind of like a midterm,” Sudbury said. “There’s a lot on the line. We need to be in the right frame of mind because of the decisions we made earlier in the season.”

The Nuttycombe Invite on Oct. 13, will mark the end of the 2017 regular season for the men’s cross country team. The Big 12 Championships will follow two weeks later on Oct. 28 in Round Rock, Texas.

And then of course, the Midwest Regional qualifier will be run Nov. 10 right here in Ames, as the Cyclones will compete to repeat their previous season’s trip to the national championship meet.

“We’re kind of like a rabid dog foaming at the mouth,” Sudbury said, chuckling a bit at the analogy.

Clearly the Cyclones have studied for their midterm, and are hungry to race.