The Daily Iowan

Iowa cross-country approaches 2018 starting line

The Hawkeye harriers open the 2018 season with their only home meet.

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

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

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

David Harmantas/The Daily Iowan

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

Hanna Malzenski, Sports Reporter

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Kicking of the 2018 season, Iowa cross-country will remain home today to compete in the Hawkeye Invitational on the Ashton Cross-Country Course.

Five teams will join the Hawkeye men and women on the course: Illinois State, Iowa State, Iowa Central, Drake, and UNI. The women’s 4,000 meters will begin at 5 p.m. and the men’s 6,000 will follow.

During the 2016 Hawkeye Invitational, Iowa finished strong overall with six harriers for the men and five for the women placing in the top 20. The 2017 results were different, however, with only three runners for the men and only four for the women finishing in the top 20.

Despite the low numbers, Iowa’s Andrea Shine established herself in the seventh spot in Iowa’s Top 10 All-Time in the women’s 4,000 with a time of 13:58.

The senior from Crystal Lake, Illinois, embraces her role as a leader for the underclassmen who dominate the roster. Today will be her first opportunity to do exactly that.

“I want to lead the team and the girls into performances that show how hard we’ve worked up to this point in the season and all throughout the summer,” Shine said.

With 19 underclassmen and only eight upperclassmen, Shine’s leadership will play a significant role this season. Head coach Randy Hasenbank views the young runners as an opportunity to develop depth and new experience.

“We have so many new faces who have the potential to affect the lineup,” he said. “We’re still a few weeks away from knowing really what they’re capable of.”

On the men’s side, the strong finish of 2016 included Michael Melchert breaking into No. 2 on Iowa’s Top 10 All-Time list for the men’s 6,000 with a time of 18:12. Melchert claimed that mark during his junior year, but he had to sit out last season because of an injury.

Melchert held Iowa’s No. 2 6K spot until Ian Eklin took it over with a time of 18:10 during the 2017 Hawkeye Invitational. Similar to Melchert, Eklin ran the time in his junior year.

Following Eklin, Nathan Mylenek grabbed the sixth spot in Iowa’s top 6K performances during the 2017 Hawkeye Invitational with a time of 18:26. This year, the junior from Clarkston, Michigan, views the invitational as a warm-up to the season.

“It’s our first 6K, so it’s kind of a rust-buster,” Mylenek said. “We’re just looking for a good race right now and good way to start the season.”

Following the Hawkeye Invitational, Iowa will have a two-week break before heading to Lincoln, Nebraska, for the Woody Greeno Invitational on Sept. 16.

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