Iowa cross country falters at Big Ten Championships

Both the men’s and the women’s cross country teams finished near the bottom of the conference championships in University Park, Pennsylvania.


Ayrton Breckenridge

Iowa runners Nick Trattner (left) and Noah Healy (right) compete in the Hawkeye Invite meet at the Ashton Cross Country Course on Friday, Sept. 3, 2021.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams finished 11th and 12th, respectively, Friday morning at the Big Ten Championships in University Park, Pennsylvania.

The Hawkeyes battled unfavorable and rainy weather conditions at the Blue and White Golf Course. Rain, wind, and incohesion as a squad ultimately gave the Hawkeyes their worst finishes on the season.

Sophomore Nick Trattner and freshman Kal Lewis led the Hawkeyes men, finishing 42nd and 54th in the 5.2 mile race, respectively. Senior Noah Healy was close behind, finishing 59th. The rest of the men’s squad struggled, as freshman Isaac Hartman finished 89th and senior Konnor Sommer finished 91st.

“We didn’t have any low sticks to get us started in the scoring,” head coach Randy Hasenbank said in a release. “We did not run well as a unit and we again had a big gap between our third runner and our fourth, fifth, and sixth runners. I thought Kal Lewis ran a good race. He is still learning how to run these longer races, but I do like his leadership and confidence on race days. Overall, the gaps really cost us. There is zero margin for error in this league.”

The Hawkeye women also couldn’t get a feel for the weather, as Iowa played catchup for most of the race. Sophomore Brooke McKee and freshman Lauren McMahon finished as the Hawkeyes’ top two runners, placing 52nd and 58th. Senior Jesse McKee was not far behind, finishing 63rd, and freshman Mirian Sandeen finished 64th.

“On the women’s side, I think we made a tactical error at the start of the race with a couple runners, and that caused us to be playing catch up the entire way,” Hasenbank said. “I was happy with our three freshmen, beginning with Brooke McKee. She had a great start and showed a lot of confidence and established a good rhythm early in the race. Lauren [McMahon] and Miriam [Sandeen] also put together very good races.”


The Hawkeye men’s team has had a problem all season long with finding solid three, four, and five runners behind Trattner and Healy. 

Lewis broke into the top two on Friday for the Hawkeyes, finishing behind Trattner. But the Hawkeyes still saw a large gap between their top three runners and the rest of the squad.


Hawkeye men’s and women’s cross country will take a short hiatus before it hosts NCAA Midwest Regional in Iowa City on Nov. 12 at the Ashton Cross Country Course. It is Iowa’s second home meet of the year after it hosted the Hawkeye Invitational on Sept. 3.