Hawkeyes led by Mylenek, Shine at Big Ten meet

Andrea+Shine+speaks+to+the+media+at+the+Hawkeye+Invitational+Cross+Country+meet+on+Friday%2C+September+1%2C+2017.+

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

Andrea Shine speaks to the media at the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, September 1, 2017.

Iowa cross-country has returned from one of the biggest meets in their season, the Big Ten Championships. The weekend of tough competition and high stakes proved to be too much for the Hawkeyes, however.

The hilly Championship Cross-Country Course in Bloomington, Indiana, was home for the 8,000-meters for the men and the 6,000-meters for the women.

Between these two races, Iowa’s pace was set by a sophomore and a junior.

Sophomore Nathan Mylenek led Iowa with a time of 24:57.6 for 28th out of 102. Mylenek was in the top four at 3,000 meters but was off pace by the final 2,000 meters.

Despite pacing the Hawkeyes, Mylenek proved to be his harshest critic; the sophomore found a major flaw in his racing approach.

“I tried to run as the very top guy, so around 3K I blew up, and it was pretty painful the rest of the race,” he said.

Even with his setback, Mylenek somewhat held his ground with the top pack while pacing Iowa.

“We ran really fast, which was pretty fun,” he said. “But I’m OK with a 28 finish considering how I ran.”

The runner from Clarkston, Michigan, has made a huge impact on the Hawkeyes in the regular season, and he’s seen massive improvement in his performance from 2016.

In last season’s Big Ten Championship, Mylenek finished 97th.

On the women’s side, Iowa was led by junior Andrea Shine, who finished 29th with a time of 21:08.7. Shine also made a jump in her Big Ten Championship results this year, at 37 spots higher than in 2016.

Shine had a place-goal in her game plan for the conference; she met it, and she looks ahead to her next competition.

“My goal going in was top 30,” Shine said. “I think in the future, I could be more aggressive and place a little bit higher, but I think 29th is spectacular and shows a lot of progress from last year.”

Indiana’s course provided a challenge not only in the competition but also the physical layout, providing some of the runners with a home-field advantage.

“There were some pretty steep up hills, but with every uphill, there was a downhill, so it stayed fast,” Shine said. “The girls in the field really played to that strength and were tactical.”

Both Shine and Mylenek are proud of themselves and their teammates but are disappointed in the overall results.

Individually, the Hawkeyes saw growth, and that’s the first step in taking their running to the next level.

“Nearly everyone had improvement based on last year,” Shine said. “Even if the team score doesn’t show that, the individual improvements are there, and that’s what matters now.”

Overall, the men’s team finished 10th out of 12 teams with 235 points, a 106-point jump from last season. The women placed 11th out of 14 with a score of 303, the same placing as in the 2016 Big Ten Championship.

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