ISU women’s cross country prepares to return 2013 All-American Bethanie Brown

Kyle Heim

The ISU women’s cross country team enters the NCAA Championship on Nov. 22 with an All-American weapon they’ve been missing since September.

Iowa State has adjusted well without sophomore Bethanie Brown, placing third at the Wisconsin Invitational and first at both the Big 12 Championship and Midwest Regional. But there is no better time than now for the 2013 All-American to make her return, as the team aims for the national title.

“For a team in our position, [Bethanie’s return] just might make the difference between a top-three finish or not, or a top-six,” said ISU coach Andrea Grove-McDonoughCQ. “There’s no doubt that it gives us a really big advantage. If you want to win a national title, which on the right day is possible, you have to have four or five women that can finish inside the top-50. Bethanie certainly brings another bullet to the chamber.”

In her lone race this season, Brown finished third for Iowa State and 16th overall at the Roy Griak Invitational on Sept. 27.

Brown has spent the past seven weeks recovering from a tendonitis injury. Brown spent three of those weeks during the middle of the season without running and only focusing on cross training. She said she feels ready to race, but won’t know for sure until she hits the course on Saturday.

“I’m feeling a little nervous because I haven’t raced,” Brown said. “I feel fit, but I haven’t been running too long, so I don’t know if my running muscles are as fit.”

Brown spent her freshman season competing in five events, so not being on the course with her teammates during races has been difficult for the second-year runner.

“I really want to be there with them because we’re having a really special season this year,” Brown said. “I’ve kept in mind that if I just wait and am patient and persistent, then when it gets to nationals, I’ll be able to help them out and I’ll be able to be a part of it.”

Brown finished 37th overall as a freshman at the 2013 NCAA Championships, and Grove-McDonough believes she will return as the team’s third or fourth runner.

Graduate Margaret Connelly will return with Brown after missing the Big 12 championships, and the duo expects to add a strong three-four punch for the team.

Grove-McDonough said even though Brown won’t be 100 percent, she will still be a better fourth runner than any other team has, except maybe Michigan State.

“Bethanie is a kid who will always run above her abilities, I’m just trying not to put any limit on what she’s capable of,” Grove-McDonough said.