Iowa cross-country continues postseason at NCAA Regional Championship

Iowa cross-country is looking to place runners in the top 25 at the NCAA Regionals to move on to the Championship.


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)

Iowa cross-country is looking to place runners in the top 25 at the NCAA Regionals to move on to the Championship

Iowa’s cross-country team will head to Ames to compete in its second meet in the postseason, the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional. The competition on the ISU Cross-Country Course will kick off today with the women’s 6,000-meter race at 10:45 a.m. and the men’s 10,000-meter race at 11:45 a.m.

Depending on their finish, this weekend will determine if Iowa men and women will compete in the NCAA Cross-Country National Championships in Louisville on Nov.18.

In total, 31 team spots are available for automatic bids for the NCAA Championships. In addition, 13 spots are at-large, which will be determined by the team’s regular season competitions and finish at regional and conference competitions.

If Iowa does not qualify to move on as a team, there will still be chances for individual runners to advance to the NCAA Championship.

RELATED: Hawkeyes led by Mylenek, Shine at Big Ten meet

Each region will select four runners whose teams don’t qualify but individually place in the top 25, to move on to NCAAs. There will be two at-large bids selected, still finishing in the top 25.

Heading into the race, the men’s Midwest Regional rankings are as follows: Iowa State (No. 1), Oklahoma State, Illinois, Minnesota, Bradley, Tulsa, Nebraska, Iowa, UMKC, South Dakota State, Missouri, Kansas State, North Dakota State, Wichita State, and Illinois State. For the past five years, Oklahoma State has finished on top for the Midwest.

The women’s rankings fall as: Minnesota (No.1), Iowa State, Oklahoma State, Missouri, Northwestern, Bradley, South Dakota, Kansas, Oklahoma, Tulsa, Northern Iowa, Northern Illinois, Loyola-Chicago, Iowa, and Creighton. The championship history on the women’s side is mixed, but Missouri took the 2016 race.

Coming off the recent Big Ten Championships, the Iowa men are ranked No. 8 and the women No. 14 in the Midwest Region. The Hawkeye women dropped one spot from No. 13, while the men dropped three spots after holding the No. 5 ranking, their highest ranking since the 2010 season.

RELATED: Hawkeye cross-country improves standing at Big Ten championship

Despite the drop in rankings, the Hawkeyes have done nothing but improve this fall. At the 2017 Big Ten Championships, 10 Hawkeyes (six men and four women), improved from their 2016 placing. Sophomore Nathan Mylenek led the Iowa men, finishing 28th, 69 spots higher than his 97th place last year. Frequent leader and junior Andrea Shine paced Iowa’s women, ending 29th.

During the men’s Big Ten Championship, Mylenek fell out of pace around the final 2,000-meters because of his over-aggressive start. The young Hawkeye is approaching the 10,000-meter Regional Championship with a different pace.

“I’m going to try to lie low early on in the race,” Mylenek said. “10K is pretty much the same as an 8K so that’s how I’m going to run it.”

For Shine, her biggest priority is keeping her momentum going until the end.

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