Hawkeye cross-country facing tough competition in Indiana

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David Harmantas

Madison Waymire (right) and Andrea Shine run up a hill at the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, September 1, 2017. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

Hanna Malzenski, [email protected]

Following a weekend free of competition, Hawkeye cross-country will travel today to South Bend, Indiana, to compete in the Joe Piane Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame.

The Hawkeyes will face an intense level of competition. Notre Dame will host 51 schools, including 42 men’s teams (five ranked) and 47 women’s teams (seven ranked).

With the size of the meet, the schools’ men’s and women’s teams have been split between two races in both divisions: the men’s and women’s blue race and the men’s and women’s gold race.

The Hawkeye men will compete in the 5-mile blue race at 12:45 p.m., while the women will run the women’s 5,000-meter gold race at 2:15 p.m.

In the 2016 season, Iowa did not compete in the Joe Piane.

Hawkeye Ian Eklin viewed Iowa’s first two meets in 2017 as preparation for this difficult contest.

“Each [meet] progresses with intensity building up to Notre Dame,” said the junior from Plymouth, Minnesota. “It’s one of the biggest meets.”

With how this fall season is going, both teams are heading to Indiana with confidence.

At the previous meet in Lincoln, Nebraska (the Woody Greeno Invitational), the men’s team finished first and the women placed third.

RELATED: Iowa cross country runner Mylenek making big strides for Hawkeyes

For the men, four runners placed in the top 10 for the 8,000-meter run, ending the race with a 1-2 finish by sophomore Nathan Mylenek and Eklin.

Junior Andrea Shine led the women’s 6,000-meter race, finishing first with a personal-best time (21:39), and senior Madison Waymire placed sixth.

With the difficulty of competition increasing, Iowa is determined to keep this momentum going as it progresses with the season.

“I have been racing with confidence because I know I am able to run strong,” Shine said. “That’s what I need to remind myself when the competition gets a little bit tougher at Notre Dame.”

Hawkeye head coach Randy Hasenbank is comfortable with how both the men’s and women’s team have hit, their stride this season.

For him, Shine and Waymire proved themselves to be major competitors.

“They’re very aggressive, they’re hungry, they are absolutely not afraid of anyone,” Hasenbank said.

On the men’s side, Hasenbank views a balance, both in physicality and in leadership roles.

“I think that there is so much parity in the men’s lineup,” he said. “I could see three or four different leaders.”

Iowa cross-country is heading into this invitational with early-season success, and a strong showing in South Bend could do wonders for the team, not only in the rankings, but in making a statement at a major meet.

Respectable results are what Iowa is looking for, and that’s what Hasenbank expects today.

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