Iowa cross-country brings home the best Big Ten finish in 7 years

The Iowa men placed sixth and Hawkeye women placed ninth in the 2018 Big Ten Championships on Sunday in Lincoln, Nebraska.

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Iowa cross-country brings home the best Big Ten finish in 7 years

The Iowa Women's Cross Country team sprints out of the box at the start of the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

The Iowa Women's Cross Country team sprints out of the box at the start of the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

David Harmantas

The Iowa Women's Cross Country team sprints out of the box at the start of the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

David Harmantas

David Harmantas

The Iowa Women's Cross Country team sprints out of the box at the start of the Hawkeye Invitational Cross Country meet on Friday, Sept. 1, 2017.

Hanna Malzenski, Sports Reporter

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Hawkeye cross-country enjoyed its best Big Ten meet finish in years, with the men notching sixth in the 8,000 meters and the Hawkeye women placing in the 6,000 meters.

Andrea Shine led the Iowa women once again with a 15th-place finish in 20:34.5. The senior’s 2018 performance is 14 places better than last year’s Big Ten race where she finished 29th in 21:08.7. Shine’s progressing career at Iowa stands as a model for the rest of the team.

“What can I say about Andie – 82nd in this meet as a freshman, 66th as a sophomore, 29th last year and now 15th,” head coach Randy Hasenbank said in the release. “What a career and what a great message to send to our young team. Her determination has built her into a championship runner. She tried to win the race today and showed tremendous courage. She is quite a story.”

Following Shine was senior Megan Schott in 39th (21:16.8), freshman Anna Hostetler in 46th (21:33.9), freshman Grace McCabe in 63rd (21:59.8), freshman Jessica McKee in 70th (22:11.4), sophomore Jordan Winke in 74th (22:13.8), sophomore Ashley Bryja in 82nd (22:35.3), freshman Kylie Latham (22:52.8), and junior Macie Weber (24:15.1).

Bryja, Latham, and McKee all ran personal bests in the 6K.

Nate Mylenek led the men with an 11th-place finish in 24:09.5, an improvement of 17 places compared to his 2017 Big Ten Championship performance. The junior’s run earned him the second team all-conference honors and a personal best in the 8K.

“Two years ago this group was dead last in the Big Ten,” Hasenbank said in a release. “I am very proud of how they competed. Nate got us going up front with an 11th-place finish, and then the rest of the squad competed like warriors.”

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Following Mylenek was senior Daniel Soto in 32nd (24:33.6), junior Brandon Cooley in 35th (24:36.9), senior Daniel Murphy in 36th (24:37.0), junior Karson Sommer in 39th (24:40.4), senior Ian Eklin in 49th (24:58.4), freshman Spencer Smith in 51st (24:59.8), senior Bailey Hesse-Withbroe (25:05.2), and sophomore Noah Healy (25:24.5)

Following in the footsteps of the women, Cooley, Murphy, Sommer, Eklin, Smith, Hesse-Withbroe, and Healy all set personal bests in the 8K.

Despite the respectable sixth-place finish from the men, their roster was not completely healthy. Soto has led Iowa in almost all of the races this season but faced a setback heading into the Big Ten Championships.

“I am so proud of Dan Soto’s performance,” Hasenbank said in a release. “This is a guy who came off a great summer of training, led the squad most of the season, and his IT band flared up on him. I felt terrible for him. Fantastic effort considering he has not run since Wednesday. Many, many athletes would not have gone to the line with this type of adversity. He is a team player in every sense of the word.”