Hawkeye cross-country improves standing at Big Ten Championship

FILE+-+Iowa+runner+Nathan+Mylenek+competes+during+the+distance+medley+during+a+track+meet+in+the+Iowa+Recreation+Building+on+Friday%2C+Jan.+27%2C+2017.+

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.

Iowa cross-country competed in the long-awaited Big Ten Championships on Oct. 29 in Bloomington, Indiana, and finished better than in seasons past. The postseason meet has been on the Hawkeye’s minds since the beginning of the fall.

The men kicked off the championship in the 8,000 meters. Iowa finished tenth out of 12 teams with 235 points, a 106-point improvement from last season.

Three Hawkeyes finished in the top 50 among the 102 runners. Sophomore Nathan Mylenek led Iowa with a time of 24:57.6 at the 28th spot. Juniors Daniel Soto and Bailey Hesse-Withbroe followed, Soto 36th at 25:04.3 and Hesse-Withbroe 49th at 25:15.8.

The Big Ten men’s teams finished in the following order: Michigan (1st, 71 points), Michigan State (2nd, 82), Wisconsin (3rd, 88), Illinois (4th, 113), Purdue (5th, 133), Minnesota (6th, 142), Indiana (7th, 159), Penn State (8th, 159), Nebraska (9th, 196), Iowa (10th, 235), Ohio State (11th, 332), and Rutgers (12th, 366).

The women’s 6,000 meters included all 14 Big Ten schools and 117 runners. Iowa’s women finished 11th with a final score of 303, the same place as in the 2016 Big Ten championships. Junior Andrea Shine was the leading Hawkeye at 29th with a time of 21:08.7. A notable finish was senior Madison Waymire with a time of 21:42, putting her 53rd.

The Big Ten women’s teams placed in the following order: Michigan (1st, 55 points), Minnesota (2nd, 86), Wisconsin (3rd, 100), Penn State (4th, 107), Michigan State (5th, 119), Ohio State (6th, 149), Indiana (7th, 156), Northwestern (8th, 227), Purdue (9th, 232), Maryland (10th, 257), Iowa (11th, 303), Nebraska (12th, 336), Illinois (13th, 371), and Rutgers (14th, 427).

The Hawkeyes faced some of the toughest competition they’ve seen so far. The men were up against nine regionally ranked teams, and the women faced 10.

On the men’s side, in the Midwest Region were Minnesota (No. 2), Illinois (No. 4), and Nebraska (No. 8). The Great Lakes Region offered the most ranked teams with Michigan (No. 1), Michigan St. (No. 2), Purdue (No. 3), Wisconsin (No. 5), and Indiana (No. 6). The Mid-Atlantic Region had Penn State (No. 5) and Rutgers (No. 14).

Iowa’s women were up against three No. 1 ranked teams. From the Midwest Region, Minnesota (No. 1) and Northwestern (No. 4). The Great Lakes Region had the most with Michigan (No. 1), Wisconsin (No. 2), Michigan St. (No. 3), Indiana (No. 5), Ohio St. (No. 6), and Purdue (No. 9). From the Mid-Atlantic Region, there was Penn State (No. 1) and Maryland (No. 10).

Despite the tough competition, both of Iowa’s teams expected to hold their own because of their ranks in the Midwest Region. The men went into the Big Ten Championship ranked No. 5 and the women ranked No. 13.

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