Iowa State men’s cross country heads to north to Minneapolis


Men’s cross country assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury discusses the importance of the Bulldog 4K Classic to the team’s developmental runners. The Bulldog 4K Classic took place Aug. 30, 2013, in Des Moines.

Maggie Davis

The Cyclone men’s cross country team is heading north this Saturday for the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The men’s distance squad is coming off a meet victory from their season opener two weeks ago.

The Cyclones ran Sept. 1 at the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational in Iowa City. They swept the meet and repeated their team victory from the 2016 season. According to the assistant men’s coach Jeremy Sudbury, this weekend’s meet will be another good opportunity for the young Cyclone team.

“It’s a chance to get back in the saddle and see where we’re at,” Sudbury said.

Sudbury reflected back on the win at Iowa, describing it as an opportunity to “get the kinks out” when it comes to traveling for a race.

He also explained that teams are allowed to run more than the usual squad of seven guys at early season meets. This gave some young runners a chance to compete in a bigger meet.

Sudbury said the team’s plan had been to run as a pack, and the guys held to it for much of the race.

“Later in the race a couple of guys started to get a little antsy and push the pace,” Sudbury said.

This weekend’s meet in Minnesota will be the full race length of eight kilometers, compared to the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational, which was six kilometers. It will also be the first meet that counts toward national standings.

In collegiate cross country, regional meets are held for teams trying to qualify for nationals. Teams that finish in the top two automatically qualify and after that comes the “at-large process.”

Teams that finish third or fourth will be awarded points based on teams they beat earlier in the season that finished in the top two in other regions.

Essentially, if a team in region A gets third overall, but beat a team placing first or second in region B earlier in the season, they get a point. These “at-large points” are tallied, and the 13 teams with the most points will earn a trip to nationals, along with the 18 automatic qualifiers.

Not only is the Roy Griak Invitational the first meet to earn at-large points, but it has a little extra significance for the Cyclones.

Martin Smith, current director of men and women’s track and field and cross country, was inducted into the Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame last season in recognition of his seven overall team titles at the invitational and two individual titles.

Not only that, but former Iowa State men’s cross country and track and field coach Bill Bergan was a member of the 2015 hall of fame induction class as well.

Coach Sudbury noted that the invitational was always a good competition for the Iowa State distance squad, and having coaches in the hall of fame was neat to see as well.

Greyson Dolezal, redshirt sophomore for the Cyclones, said their goal right now is to improve as a team altogether. He explained how they ran as a pack at Iowa, and they plan to do the same in Minneapolis.

Dolezal also described his thoughts for the Roy Griak Invitational and the rest of the season.

“I’m definitely excited. It goes quick. You have to take advantage of every opportunity and capitalize,” Sudbury said. 

“We have one goal. And that’s to improve.”