Cross-country looks for improvement in 2017


The Daily Iowan; Photos by Josep

Iowa’s Ian Eklin trails behind other competitors at Drake Stadium during the Drake Relays on Thursday, April 27, 2017. (The Daily Iowan/Joseph Cress)

To start the 2017 season, Iowa cross country will host the Hawkeye Invitational today.

The races will be run on the Ashton Cross-Country Course, starting with the women’s 4K at 6 p.m. and the men’s 6K at 6:45 p.m. The teams joining the Hawkeyes on the trail will be Illinois State, Iowa State, Iowa Central, Drake, UNI, and Creighton.

In 2016, the Hawkeyes started their season strong with six runners for the men and five runners for the women placing in the top 20 at the Hawkeye Invitational. Eight out of those 11 runners return for the 2017 season.

The women won their race, and the men placed second behind Iowa State, which edged Iowa by 29 points.

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Two notable returning athletes from 2016 are Ian Eklin, who placed 13th at 18:37.8, and Madison Waymire, who came in third at 10:21.9. Both Eklin and Waymire approach this season with new focus.

“I am putting in more miles than I ever have,” Eklin said. “With more focus on my mileage, I have been able to run faster, and my body has been responding very well.”

With numerous meets coming up, the men’s team envisions just one of their goals for 2017.

“A lot of the meets we have throughout the season we think are attainable of being in the top three,” said the junior from Plymouth, Minnesota.

When asked about the difference between the beginning of the 2016 and 2017 season, Waymire, a Grimes native, reflected on what it means to her to be a senior.

“This year, I am leaving it all out on the table,” she said. “I want to exit knowing that I gave it all I could, regardless of the results.”

Waymire hopes to use her experience to provide leadership for some of her Hawkeye teammates.

“I want to lead by action rather than be a vocal leader,” she said. “I want to lead by example while performing on such a big stage.”

Both cross-country teams welcome younger athletes. The men’s team consists of eight underclassmen (five sophomores, three freshmen), and the women’s team has 16 underclassmen (nine sophomores, seven freshmen).

“For the both the men’s team and the women’s team, the goal is to improve the teams’ lot in the Big Ten Championship and in the regional championships,” cross-country coach Randy Hasenbank said. “We also want to be competing at a high level in the early season meets.”

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