Wisconsin Adidas Invitational expects to prepare cross country team for NCAA Championships

Kyle Heim

The ISU women’s cross country is focused more on gaining experience rather than winning the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 17.

The women’s event features 40 teams, including 22 teams ranked inside the top-30 by the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. ISU women’s cross country coach Andrea Grove-McDonough hopes the invitational will help give the runners ideas for what the NCAA Championships will be like next month.

“This meet at Wisconsin is going to run very similar to the National Championships,” Grove-McDonough said. “There’s going to be a lot of great runners and a lot of teams with a lot of depth. It’s a really tight field, so you feel like sardines. You might be having a really good race and be 50th.”

Grove-McDonough said she expects another strong performance from her top three runners but said she would like to see all six of her runners race better than they did at the Roy Griak Invitational.

“The girls in front have a lot of poise and a lot of experience,” Grove-McDonough said. “We just need to make sure our four, five and six runners learn to find each other on the course, and learn how to key-off each other a little better. It’s going to be a big test for them in such a tightly-packed field.”

Junior Crystal Nelson, redshirt senior Katy Moen, graduate Margaret Connelly, sophomores Bethanie Brown and Perez Rotich, redshirt freshman Erin Hooker and redshirt junior Colleen Riley are all expected to start for the Cyclones. Brown is day-to-day with tendonitis issues but still expects to run.

“It’s another opportunity to get some more experience with the top teams before Nationals,” Connelly said.

The team enters the meet after completing an extensive training session recently.

“[Grove-McDonough] expects us to feel kind of tired,” Nelson said. “The goal is to practice race strategy and to feel good during the race.”

The Wisconsin Adidas Invitational will give Grove-McDonough one last look at her team in a regular season event. The goal is to continue to stay healthy as post-season approaches next month.

On Nov. 1, Iowa State will travel to Lawrence, Kansas to compete in the Big 12 Championships. Next on the schedule is the Midwest Regional on Nov. 14 in Peoria, Illinois.

The team finishes the season at the NCAA Championships on Nov. 22 in Terre Haute, Indiana.