Consistency reigns for Iowa cross-country


David Harmantas

Ian Eklin kicks down a competitor at the finish line at the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, September 1, 2017. (David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan)

For Iowa cross-country, the season has presented itself as an opportunity to prove itself as a team. With the regular season behind them, the Hawkeye men stand at the No. 5 spot and the women at the No. 13 for the U.S. Track and Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association Midwest poll.

One word to describe the 2017 Iowa cross-country program: consistent.

For the young cross-country team, it’s only the second season with its current head coach. Randy Hasenbank joined Iowa in August 2016 after Layne Anderson finished his time with the Hawkeyes, becoming the interim head coach before chosen as associate head coach for cross-country and track and field.

With this season being Hasenbank’s second time around with the Hawkeyes, the team has started to benefit from his training program. His steadiness has had the greatest effect on the men’s and women’s teams.

For Madison Waymire, who transferred to Iowa after her freshman year, 2017 is the first season she has had the same coach for two seasons while competing at the college level.

“I think that the consistency is really good,” she said. “This year, I can tell that [Hasenbank] has filled into the role very well and is a part of the team as much as anybody else now.”

Hasenbank’s program has been widely accepted by the women’s team, leading to positive responses from the athletes. Senior Marta Gonzalez believes his type of training has helped her improve more in the past two years.

“[Hasenbank] focuses on very individual workouts,” Gonzalez said. “Even though we train as a team, he knows the different athletes on the team and adjusts their workouts.”

This view carries over to the men’s team.

The top competitor for the Hawkeyes, sophomore Nathan Mylenek, has been at Iowa for the same amount of time as Hasenbank and has experienced the shift in the head coach’s practice approach.

“It’s high intensity on select days followed by easier days,” he said. “I’d say the team has adjusted really well.”

Junior Ian Eklin, who competed under Anderson his freshman year, sees the difference between the two head coaches, especially in their training styles.

“Layne was more of a fartlek style, while Randy is more specific and numbers driven,” Eklin said.

Outside of his coaching style, Hasenbank brings a prominent attitude that has contributed the teams’ success beyond the physical aspect.

“Since Day 1, he’s said he hates losing,” Eklin said. “His mentality of ‘we will be the best we can be,’ ‘we will do well in the meets,’ ‘we will beat these teams,’ has really rubbed off on us.”

With strong rankings as proof, Iowa cross-country has clearly excelled under Hasenbank’s coaching.

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