Roller-coaster season continues for women’s cross-country


Redshirt junior Maddie Nagle runs with the pack at the Bulldog 4K Classic on Aug. 30 in Des Moines. Nagle finished 17th overall with a time of 15:41.

Kyle Heim

The ISU women’s cross-country team has yet to catch a break. 

After a strong performance in the season opener that resulted in four ISU runners sweeping the top four spots in the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational, everything appeared positive for the team, at least on the outside.

Sending the back-end of the lineup to Iowa City for the first meet, Iowa State sent a similar group of runners to the Oz Memorial in Falcon Heights, Minn., the next week. The team placed second behind No. 26 Minnesota and dropped to No. 2 in the rankings.

ISU cross-country coach Andrea Grove-McDonough will be without her best runner, Crystal Nelson, this season, and said Bethanie Brown, who finished third for the team and 53rd overall at the 2014 NCAA Cross-Country Championship, is dealing with fatigue issues. 

“It’s been a really up-and-down year,” Grove-McDonough said. “… Bethanie Brown is a bit of a question mark, I hate to say that. She’s kind of having some fatigue issues a little bit right now. [It’s] nothing I’m overly concerned about, but I think we’ll get her right.” 

Grove-McDonough has once again decided to send the back of her lineup to Minnesota on Saturday for the Roy Griak Invitational, holding out her top runners for the Greater Louisville Classic in Louisville, Ky., which will take place the following Saturday. 

“Now we have to rely on some kind of new faces who are going to have to have an impact and that’s always a little unnerving,” Grove-McDonough said. “But they seem ready for it, so their role will just become a little bit bigger, especially early on.” 

Freshmen Anne Frisbie and Kelly Naumann, along with Erin Norton, Maddie Nagle and Kristen Henson, will compete in Minnesota on Saturday.

“It’s an opportunity for the other girls who don’t normally have to carry the score,” Grove-McDonough said. “There’s a couple of freshmen in there and they have an opportunity to be our frontrunners at this meet, probably will be. We’re just trying to get these other girls some experience in a big race. Hopefully that will benefit them down the road.”