Iowa cross-country runner Mylenek making big strides for Hawkeyes

Second-year Hawkeye Nathan Mylenek is making noise on the cross-country course early in 2017 – big strides from his freshman campaign.


Joseph Cress

FILE – Iowa runner Nathan Mylenek competes during the distance medley during a track meet in the Iowa Recreation Building on Friday, Jan. 27, 2017.

Hanna Malzenski, [email protected]

Sophomore Nathan Mylenek has started the season breaking records and pacing races.

From the season-opener in Iowa City to the Woody Greeno Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska, the sophomore has done it all.

Recently in Lincoln, the Clarkston, Michigan, native won the 8,000 meters, clocking in at 25:42.8. He attributed his newfound success to pack running.

“We packed up as a team and ran almost the entire first 6K together,” he said. “We performed really well, and at the end of the day, that’s all that matters.”

Mylenek’s success at the Woody Greeno Invitational is an addition to his record-breaking performance at the Hawkeye Invitational earlier.

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The sophomore broke into Iowa men’s all-time top-10 performances in the 6,000 meters with the time of 18:26.4. He is now fifth all-time for the Hawkeyes.

“It was a shock,” he said. “After training and racing all summer, I did not expect to perform right away, but being in the top 10 is awesome.”

Mylenek has not only represented Iowa in competition but also the United States. The young Hawkeye traveled to Peru wearing red, white, and blue to participate in the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships. He competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

“It feels completely different to wear the USA singlet compared to any other singlet,” Mylenek said.

Hawkeye head coach Randy Hasenbank viewed the Pan American Games as great experience for the sophomore.

“[The Pan American Games] shows us that he is wildly talented,” Hasenbank said. “Hopefully, it gives him some confidence going into this cross-country season to take the next logical step in his progression.”

With some experience under his belt, Mylenek’s goal for the season is focused on the key competitions later in the season.

“At the Big Ten meet, I want to do much better than last year,” he said. “Hopefully, I will still be one of the top runners on our team.”

In his sophomore year, Mylenek wants to contribute as much as he can, and his experience as a freshman will come in handy. In his first year as a Hawkeye, Mylenek broke ground in cross-country and indoor and outdoor track and field.

One of Mylenek’s greatest successes in outdoor track was his performance at the 2017 Track & Field Big Ten Championships. He placed 8th in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a college-best and team-leading time of 8:56.78. The result ranks fourth all-time at Iowa.

Having a strong history and new success to add to it, Mylenek is looking forward to what this 1season holds.

“I expect to affect the team as much as possible every single race,” he said.

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