The Daily Iowan

Hawkeye X-C front runners rest until Big Ten Championships

Iowa cross-country's top harriers rest their race legs as the team heads to Champaign to compete in the Illinois Open.

Senior+Andrea+Shine+gives+a+pep+talk+before+the+Hawkeye+Invitational+at+Ashton+Cross+Country+course+on+Friday%2C+August+31%2C+2018.+The+Hawkeyes+were+defeated+by+Iowa+State+24-56.+Andrea+Shine+placed+first+in+the+Women%27s+4K+with+a+time+of+14%3A07.5.+
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Hawkeye X-C front runners rest until Big Ten Championships

Senior Andrea Shine gives a pep talk before the Hawkeye Invitational at Ashton Cross Country course on Friday, August 31, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by Iowa State 24-56. Andrea Shine placed first in the Women's 4K with a time of 14:07.5.

Senior Andrea Shine gives a pep talk before the Hawkeye Invitational at Ashton Cross Country course on Friday, August 31, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by Iowa State 24-56. Andrea Shine placed first in the Women's 4K with a time of 14:07.5.

Katie Goodale

Senior Andrea Shine gives a pep talk before the Hawkeye Invitational at Ashton Cross Country course on Friday, August 31, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by Iowa State 24-56. Andrea Shine placed first in the Women's 4K with a time of 14:07.5.

Katie Goodale

Katie Goodale

Senior Andrea Shine gives a pep talk before the Hawkeye Invitational at Ashton Cross Country course on Friday, August 31, 2018. The Hawkeyes were defeated by Iowa State 24-56. Andrea Shine placed first in the Women's 4K with a time of 14:07.5.

Hanna Malzenski, Sports Reporter

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Hawkeye cross-country will wrap up the regular season today in Champaign, Illinois, at the Illini Open. The women’s squad will run the 5,000 meters at 4 p.m., and the men will take on the 8,000 meters at 4:40 p.m.

The Iowa harriers will run together again this weekend after racing at separate invitationals last weekend. The women ran in the Bradley Pink Classic, and the men competed at Pre-Nationals hosted by Wisconsin.

Many cross-country teams do not travel together, but senior Daniel Soto has said the Hawkeyes view themselves as not just the men’s and women’s teams but as Iowa’s cross-country team.

RELATED: Iowa cross-country runs alone, finishes for the team

Senior Andrea Shine likes that mindset.

“I think our teams have a lot of unity,” she said. “We really build off each other’s excitement, so when the girls have a good performance, that builds momentum for the guys to do the same and vice versa.”

Heading into the race, Iowa men jumped up three spots and are ranked No. 6 in the Midwest Region, and the women dropped two spots to No. 8. The Illinois men are ranked No. 7, and the Illini women are No. 6.

Not all the Hawkeyes will compete this week. The Big Ten Championships are on Oct. 28, and Iowa’s top runners will conserve their legs (and grit) until then.

On the women’s side, freshmen Patty Teggatz, Emma Gordan, and Elzerie Van Dyk, sophomores Wren Renquist and Maddie Carver, and senior Ashley Espinosa will run for Iowa. The list is subject to change.

Compared with the 2017 season, the women have made significant improvement. The regional rankings at this point last season were drastically different, with the women sitting at No. 13.

The last 5,000 meters race for the women was at the Joe Piane Invitational hosted by Notre Dame in September, where the women placed seventh among 19 teams.

The men will be a little more warmed up for their 8,000 meters race. They ran the distance at the Pre-Nationals race last weekend, where the squad finished 16th of 35 teams.

Similar to women, Iowa men will have only a handful of harriers competing at the Illini Open. The list has not been completed. Soto, who has finished first for Iowa in every race but one, will not run until the Big Ten Championships.

For some of the front-runners for Iowa, the regular season has come to an end.

“The season got off to a really exciting start with those few early meets that I won,” Shine said. “The competition just got better from there, and I think that the next two races gave me a learning experience as well as experience to really compete my hardest. Going into the postseason meets, I know that I have a regular season that really helped develop me even further than I ever have in the past.”

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