Iowa cross country notebook | Hawkeyes get ready for Stillwater

Iowa cross country will head to Stillwater, Oklahoma, this weekend for the Weis-Crockett Invite. The Hawkeyes will face possibly their toughest competition so far, with multiple foes in the top 15 regional rankings.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa’s freshman Max Murphy set a personal best and etched himself third in Iowa history with a time of 7:59.296. Murphy finished 4th overall during the Hawkeye B1G Invitational track meet at the University of Iowa Recreation Building on Saturday, Feb. 13 , 2021.

Jake Olson, Sports Reporter

The Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams are back in action on Saturday morning, heading to the Weis-Crockett Invite in Stillwater, Oklahoma. The Hawkeyes are well-rested after they had a week off competition. 

The races will start earlier than usual because of heat conditions in Stillwater. Stillwater has a high of 82 degrees, but the temperature will be 59 degrees when the Hawkeyes start. The men’s 8,000-meter race kicks off at 8:30 a.m. while the women will follow with a 6,000-meter race at 9:20 a.m.

This event will be one of the Hawkeyes’ most challenging so far this season. Iowa will go against a 29-team field, many of which are ranked in the latest U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association poll.

Both Hawkeye teams still find themselves in the latest USTFCCCA Midwest Regional rankings. The men sit at 6th, while the women are close behind at 15th in their respective categories.  The Iowa men are the second-highest-ranked Big Ten team behind Illinois.

Oklahoma State, Arkansas, and Kansas are all ranked in the top 15 of their respective regionals. Additionally, the Hawkeyes will race on the same course that the NCAA Championships will be held on Nov. 19.

“I want them to be on the national championship course and want them to understand that that’s an expectation,” cross country coach Randy Hasenbank said. “We are going to preview that course just like we previewed the Big Tens. All those races that we are attending are set up by design.”

Both the Hawkeye men and women are excited about their opportunities against some stiffer competition, especially the women. After a week to rest, the women’s squad is thrilled for this chance.  

“I think it [time off] helps us develop physically and mentally,” junior Kelli Tosic said. “It’s really nice having that week where we can really focus on training and not really have the pressure of a race.”

Last time out

Both the Iowa men and women competed in the Gans Creek Classic in Columbia, Missouri, on Sept. 30. The Hawkeye men finished sixth overall, while the women finished seventh.

Sophomore runner Max Murphy had his best race of the season, setting a personal best while getting fourth overall at 23 minutes and 44.7 seconds.

“Individually, I am very happy,” Murphy said. “My training has been finally paying off. I am just looking to keep the momentum going every meet.”

Murphy now has the sixth fastest 8,000-meter time in program history.

Junior Nick Trattner was not far behind for Iowa. The Naperville, Illinois, product finished at 12th overall while also setting a personal best time of 23:56.8. Following Trattner was senior Konner Sommer and sophomore Ian Geisler, who finished 50th and 67th, respectively. Freshman Miles Sheppard brought up the rear for the Hawkeyes, finishing 71st.

Senior Emma Gordon once again led the Hawkeye women by getting 14th place as well as setting a personal best in the 6,000-meter. Her 20:53.5 time is the 10th-best in Iowa program history. Junior Brooke McKee, who also set a personal best, and Kelli Tosic followed Gordon, placing 34th and 42nd, respectively.

Freshman Jalyssa Blazek and senior Maddie Block rounded out the top five while placing 61st and 66th, both setting their own personal bests in the process. 

The Iowa women in total had 10 total runners who clinched a personal best, including four of the top five runners.