Cross Country Notebook – Iowa prepares for Redbird Invite

The races at Weibring Golf Course will begin with the women’s competition at 5 p.m. and the men will follow at 5:45 p.m.


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 will be in Normal, Illinois, on Friday to compete in the Redbird Invite. The Illinois State-hosted event will be held at Weibring Golf Course. The women will run their usual 6,000 meters while the men will make their first jump to 8,000 meters this weekend. The women’s race will begin at 5 p.m. and the men will follow 45 minutes later.

“I think we are a stronger team at 8,000 and 10,000 meters, especially with Nick [Trattner] and Max [Shepherd],” Iowa coach Randy Hassenbank said. “Both guys have experienced some high-level performances at those distances.”

Hasenbank has made the decision not to take some of the Hawkeyes’ top runners on the trip this weekend. Instead, he will be testing some of the younger runners to see how well they perform on the road.

“We are going to see how they respond to those races,” said Hasenbank. “We will see if they are ready to be moved into the top 12 roster spots. We have a couple of people on both sides that we will see.”

The Hawkeyes will compete against a handful of schools from around the midwest including ISU, Eastern Illinois, Heartland Community College, Illinois Springfield, Northern Iowa, Southern Illinois University- Edwardsville, Southern Illinois, and Wartburg.

RELATED: Iowa cross country sweeps season-opening Hawkeye Invite

Last time out

The men’s and women’s teams competed in the Big Ten Preview on Sept. 9 in Ann Arbor, Michigan.

At the University of Michigan Golf Course, the same venue that is set to host this season’s Big Ten Cross Country Championships, the men finished third while the women were sixth.

Senior Emma Gordon led the Hawkeye women for the second straight race, finishing in 16th place individually. Junior Kelli Tosic and freshman Jalyssa Black finished 32nd and 33rd for Iowa while senior Maddie Block set a personal record in 41st. Junior Brooke McKee rounded out the top five for Iowa with a 45th-place showing.

Iowa scored 147 points in the team standings, coming up eight points short of fifth-place Rutgers.

“I don’t think we ran really well early in the race which made us have a lot of work to do,” Iowa coach Randy Hasenbank said. “We played catch up the entire way. We just have to execute and be more confident and aggressive in these races.”

Hasenbank also said it was the girl’s first race at 6,000 meters this season after only running 4,000 meters in the Hawkeye Invitational in their season-opener on Sept. 2.

On the men’s side, senior Nick Trattner and sophomore Max Murphy both competed for the first time this season in Ann Arbor. Both Trattner and Murphy tallied top-10 finishes, placing eighth and ninth, respectively.

Sophomore Ian Geisler and junior Jack Pendergast placed at 20th and 24th, both setting personal bests in the process. Freshman Miles Sheppard was the fifth Hawkeye to cross the finish line, placing 36th.

“It was a lot of fun to be back out there,” Murphy said. “I put in a lot of work over the summer and fall and it finally looks like it’s paying off.”

Murphy said it wasn’t too difficult to make the early season jump right into 6,000 meters, noting he puts in almost 90 miles a week already.

In the Rankings

Following the impressive performance in Michigan, the Hawkeye men are ranked fifth in the latest USTFCCCA Midwest Regional Rankings. Iowa is the highest-ranked Big Ten team in the standings, edging out Illinois and Minnesota who occupy the next two spots.