The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Iowa cross country’s Max Murphy crushes men’s 6,000-meter school record in season opener

Iowa cross country junior Max Murphy rewrote the Iowa history books on Friday with his 17:57 finish.
Theodore Retsinas
Iowa’s Max Murphy closes in on the lead during the Hawkeye Invitational at Ashton Cross-Country Course in Iowa City on Friday, Sept. 1, 2023. Murphy broke the University of Iowa men’s 6,000-meter record at the invite. The Iowa men’s team won the invite with the women coming in second.

Iowa cross country junior Max Murphy’s 2023 debut rewrote Iowa history at the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday, his 17:57 finish in the 6,000-meter race shattering the Iowa men’s all-time record in the event.

The Iowa men’s and women’s cross country programs began their 2023 seasons with the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday evening. The Hawkeyes’ debut hosted the likes of Creighton, Illinois State, Truman State, and Indian Hills Community College at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City.

But Murphy’s race stole the spotlight, breaking the record by almost 13 seconds.

“There was no talk about setting a record,” Iowa distance coach Randy Hasenbank said. “He’s just that good.”

Murphy was excited for the opportunity to compete for a record-breaking time, but he found the race most important for his team above himself. 

“I definitely had the record in mind, but the first goal is always to score the least amount of points for the team,” Murphy said. “But, obviously, records are fun things to get.”

Murphy was successful with both goals. 

Not only did the Iowa men’s team win the meet with just 17 points, five members of the 2023 team now hold five of the top 10 spots in Iowa’s 6,000-meter race history. 

Behind Murphy in first rest sophomore Hayden Kuhn in second, sophomore Miles Shepard in third, sophomore Will Ryan in seventh, and junior Ian Geisler in eighth.

“I was really proud of how our team competed out there,” Murphy added. “Everyone from top to bottom ran really well.”

On the women’s side, eight Iowa women set new 4,000-meter race personal records, which was a source of pride for distance coach Shayla Houlihan. 

“I thought the women did a great job following the meet plan and working together as a group,” Houlihan said. “As we continue to add some pieces to the puzzle, I think they are going to improve.”

Iowa finished second overall with a total of 37 points. Illinois State, led by meet champion Claire Fuhlhage, took the team title with 28 points. 

Senior Amber Aesoph led the Hawkeyes with a third-place finish with a time of 14:19.3 in the women’s 4,000-meter race — a new personal best. 

But despite the Hawkeye’s second place finish, Aesoph is proud of the team effort and has high expectations for the season ahead.

“We have a super interchangeable top five or top seven,” Aesoph noted. “As the season progresses, I think you’re going to see a lot of different people up in our top five.”

Aesoph and seniors Brooke McKee, Grace Bookin-Nosbisch, Abby Ryon, and Katie Moore as well as sophomores Jalyssa Blazek, Aleah Tenpas, and Rowan Boulter all brought home individual personal records for the Hawkeyes.

Noting the meet was filled with success for both the men’s and women’s programs, distance coach Randy Hasenbank believes there is a huge lesson to take from Friday’s competition.

“We should take a lot of confidence from this meet,” Hasenbank said. “But we also have to be consistent and be determined to be better.”

Looking ahead

The Iowa runners look forward to the Wisconsin-hosted Badger Classic on Sept. 9 in Madison, Wisconsin. 

This meet will be vital to the Hawkeyes’ postseason success to get some experience on the course before they return to Madison for the Badger-hosted Big Ten Championships on Oct. 27. 

“A few of them have run this course in the past, but we need to have a mind reset,” distance coach Shayla Houlihan noted. “They are different athletes from last year.”

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About the Contributors
Mia Boulton
Mia Boulton, Sports Reporter
Mia Boulton is a freshman at the University of Iowa majoring in Journalism & Mass Communication, as well as exploring a possible double major in Sports Media. She works at the Daily Iowan as a sports reporter. Outside of the Daily Iowan, Mia has been a photographer for her hometown newspaper, The Record.
Theodore Retsinas
Theodore Retsinas, Photojournalist
Theodore Retsinas is a freshman at the University of Iowa studying Neuroscience.