ISU women’s cross country earns sixth consecutive bid to nationals


Senior Perez Rotich runs for Iowa State at the Big 12 Championships on Nov. 1, 2014.

Kyle Heim

The ISU women’s cross country team took another step toward achieving the cross country triple crown by claiming its fifth consecutive Midwest Regional title on Nov. 14.

The Cyclones ran loose and conservatively throughout the race and in the end, received exactly what they were looking for, a bid to the NCAA Championships.

Junior Crystal Nelson, who was originally expected to rest at the regional meet, placed fifth overall for the Cyclones, finishing one spot behind redshirt senior Katy Moen. Moen and Nelson’s times were separated by only one-hundredths of a second.

“Crystal and I felt really relaxed throughout the whole race, and finished right next to each other,” Moen said. “We 100 percent followed the race plan, and our coach was very happy for us.”

Nelson’s participation gave graduate Margaret Connelly an opportunity to rest before competing at Nationals in Terre Haute on Nov. 22.

Moen said leading up to the race, ISU coach Andrea Grove-McDonough told the runners to view the race more as a workout and hold back some for the NCAA Championships.

Iowa State also executed its pack-forming strategy as planned at the regional. Not only did Moen and Nelson finish together, redshirt freshman Erin Hooker and sophomore Perez Rotich tied for 13th place.

“Erin and Perez also started really reserved,” Moen said. “They picked it up a little bit throughout the race, but that was definitely what the race plan [called for].”

There will be no holding back for Iowa State at Terre Haute on Nov. 22. The team will compete on only seven days of rest, the fewest days of rest between meets this season.

“We just need to focus on leaving it all on the course and following the race plan,” Moen said. “No matter how well we plan it, it’s nationals and everything’s in the air.”

Iowa State entered the NCAA Midwest Regional ranked No. 5 in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Coaches Association will post their final rankings before the national meet later today.

The team is happy with what they’ve accomplished to this point of the season, but their biggest goal of the year awaits on Nov. 22. Rain, heat and sub-freezing temperatures have been unsuccessful in tripping up Iowa State, but Terre Haute expects to add mud to the mix on Nov. 22.

“Our intention all year has been win the Big 12 title and go into NCAAs and do something special with this team,” Grove-McDonough said.

Iowa State expects to have 2013 All-American Bethanie Brown and Margaret Connelly return for their national title run.