No changes in store for ISU women’s cross country team


Kyle Heim/Iowa State Daily

Junior Crystal Nelson and redshirt senior Katy Moen lead the pack at the Big 12 Championships on Nov. 1.

Kyle Heim

The ISU women’s cross country team enters the final events of the season with an “if it isn’t broke, don’t fix it” mentality.

Iowa State returned from its best performance of the season on Nov. 1 after claiming its fourth consecutive Big 12 title in Lawrence, Kansas.

For the first time all year, the Cyclones placed five runners inside the top-15 at the event. Runners on the team said consistency is important as they prepare for the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22.

“They were really focused, more so than they’ve been all year,” said ISU coach Andrea Grove-McDonough. “I hadn’t asked them to really be all that focused up until now. I called on them a little to put their heads down a little bit more and it was great.”

Junior Crystal Nelson said the best way for the team to continue performing at a high level is to not change anything and continue staying loose during practices and races.

“As a team, we’re all really close in general,” Nelson said. “At practice, we’re running together on our normal runs and working out together, just encouraging each other.”

The team will have its work cut out for it at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 14. Coach Andrea Grove-McDonough said Nelson, the team’s top runner, and sophomore Bethanie Brown will both be inactive.

Both runners are healthy, but Grove-McDonough said she is confident the other runners on the team can get the job done.

“Our intention all year has been to win the Big 12 title, and then go into the NCAAs and do something special with this team,” Grove-McDonough said. “We will go into regionals and just try to get our qualifier out of the way.”

The team continues to focus a great deal of their attention on staying injury-free.

“Recently, we’ve been working on continuing to stay healthy and paying attention to the small aches and pains that any of us might have,” said redshirt freshman Erin Hooker.

The cold didn’t slow down the team at the Big 12 Championships, but they have another round of arctic temperatures in store for them at the Midwest Regional in Peoria, Illinois.

Runners said the weather gives them an advantage over some of their southern competitors.

“We’re all from Iowa, so if anything, our team is accustomed to the cold weather, but other teams might struggle,” Hooker said.

Aside from staying healthy, the team said it doesn’t have a specific agenda for the Regional.

“Honestly, we don’t really have any goals because I think that we know as a team even if we don’t do well, we’ll still probably go to Nationals,” Nelson said.