The University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams will travel to Columbia, Missouri, on Friday for the Gans Creek Classic. The meet is the Hawkeyes’ third of the 2021 season.
The Gans Creek Classic will feature an 8,000-meter race for the men at 9 a.m. with a 6,000-meter race for the women to follow at 9:45.
Just three events — counting the Gans Creek Classic — stand between the Hawkeyes and the Big Ten Conference Championships in University Park, Pennsylvania, scheduled for Oct. 29. Iowa will split its squad for two meets Oct. 15. The Hawkeyes will run in both the University of Wisconsin-hosted Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison and the Bradley Pink Classic in Peoria, Illinois, that day.
This weekend, the Hawkeye men are looking to build upon what they view as an average finish at the University of Nebraska’s Dirksen-Greeno Invitational in Lincoln Sept. 18. The Iowa men placed third at the event they’d previously won in both 2018 and 2019. The 2021 Dirksen-Greeno Invitational featured a 20-team field.
“[The men] just had an average result at Nebraska based on our abilities,” Hawkeye head coach Randy Hasenbank said. “I think they are all on point and know what they’ve got to do to reach their goals.”
Two runners on the Hawkeye men’s team placed in the Dirksen-Greeno Invitational top ten as individuals. Sophomore Nick Trattner finished sixth with senior Noah Healy trailing him in eighth place.
Despite their solid individual results, Trattner and Healy still aren’t satisfied.
“As a team, we need to pick it up,” Trattner said. “At Nebraska, we didn’t really do much as a team. We had a big gap between two and three, which we can’t have.”
Trattner added that the Hawkeyes’ goal for the Gans Creek Classic is to place high in the team competition. Trattner hopes his team will place in the top five or seven overall and finish within 30 or 40 seconds of the top teams.
The Hawkeye women won the Dirksen-Greeno Invitational. Now, they’re just hoping to bring the momentum they found in Lincoln to Columbia.
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“Going up to [6,000 meters], we have had some good workouts and a lot of our older girls are fitness-based, so the 6,000-meter will play in their hands,” senior Emma Gordon said. “It will be good to see how the young runners step up to that race distance.”
The Iowa women haven’t participated in a 6,000-meter race yet this season. At the Hawkeye and Dirksen-Greeno Invitationals, the Iowa women competed in 4,000 and 5,000-meter races, respectively.
“It’s pretty new for everyone because we didn’t have a season last year, and that’s a lot longer distance for the new runners,” Hasenbank said.
This will be the first meet of the year where both the Hawkeye men and women are ranked in the Midwest Region. The men were No. 12 and the women were No. 9 in the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Association’s Sept. 28 rankings.