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Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou 
©Michael Scott 2017. https://miscottrunning

Karissa Schweizer is a “Strong Runner Chick!”

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Darren Miller/

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Darren Miller/

Here is a new must bookmark for your browser.  The website “Strong Runner Chicks” recently published a story about Karissa Schweizer and nutrition.  Below is a segment of the article.  For the full article click here! 

Courtesy Strong Running Chicks, click Here!  Feature photo: Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou  ©Michael Scott 2017. https://miscottrunning

Hello SRC, happy Thursday! This week we have the privilege of hearing from 3x NCAA champion, Karissa Schweizer! Karissa shares advice on running strong and reminds us all to love the sport of running and do what makes you happy.

  1. Who are you? Karissa Schweizer, 21, Urbandale, IA. University of Missouri mile through 5k specialist.
  2. Greatest running achievement? Some of my greatest achievements thus far have been 2016 Cross Country NCAA champion, 2017 indoor 5k NCAA champion, and 2017 outdoor 5k NCAA champion. 5 time All-American. Four time SEC champion.
  3. What is your your favorite pre-workout snack? Meal? My favorite pre-workout snack for a morning workout is coffee and toast with peanut butter and jelly. When I have afternoon workouts I love to make kodiak pancakes with chocolate chips topped with a banana and peanut butter.
  4. How do your refuel after an easy day? Hard day? I usually practice in the morning, so my favorite way to refuel is a large breakfast. My go to breakfast is a egg-white scramble with lots of vegetables and potatoes, topped with a lot of salsa, and a side of jelly toast. And with that, to satisfy my horrible sweet tooth I usually have yogurt with lots of fruit topped with granola and Nutella.
  5. When it comes to running and nutrition, do you believe they go hand in hand? I believe nutrition plays a huge factor in running, just like how you can’t expect a car to run without fuel. I typically try to eat healthy but I have learned that strict dieting doesn’t work for me and if I am craving something I will eat it!
© Cyclones Athletic

Cyclones 2017 XC Schedule

2016 ISU Women's Conference Champions ©Cyclones Athletics

2016 ISU Women’s Conference Champions
©Cyclones Athletics

The 2017 Iowa State Men’s and Women’s Cross Country schedule is set. The 2017 slate has a similar look to it as 2016, as the Cyclones will run in three regular season contests before beginning their postseason chase at the Big 12 Championship.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletics, click here!

The season begins on Friday, Sept. 1 in Iowa City. Both teams will compete at the Hawkeye Invitational.

Iowa State will then head to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invitational on Saturday, Sept. 23. The Griak has become a staple in ISU’s cross country schedule. Head coach Martin Smith has claimed seven team titles at the event and was inducted into the Roy Griak Invitational hall of fame last season.

The regular season concludes on Friday, Oct. 13 at the Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invitational. The prestigious event held in Madison, Wis., will serve as a final tune-up before the Cyclones begin their postseason run.

This season, the Big 12 Championship will be hosted in Round Rock, Texas on Oct 28. Last season, the women claimed their fifth Big 12 title in six years, while the men posted their best finish since the meet began in 2013, finishing runner-up.

The Iowa State Cross Country will play host for the 2017 NCAA Midwest Regional on Friday, Nov. 10. The Midwest Regional was last held in Ames in 2013.

The Cyclones will look to conclude their season at the NCAA Championship on Saturday, Nov. 18. This year’s championship will be held in Louisville, Kentucky. In 2016, both the men’s and the women’s team qualified for the NCAA Championship. The men took 16th, while the women finished 29th, respectively.

Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU
©Mike Mahon

Your New Destination “Houlihan Run” In Sioux City

© Michael Scott 2016,

© Michael Scott 2016,

The Sioux  City Planning and Zoning Committee recently announced the naming of a stretch of road near East Sioux City High School in honor of Olympian and National Champion, Shelby Houlihan.  Ian Richardson of The Sioux City Journal made the announcement .


Olympic runner Shelby Houlihan could soon have a street named in her honor in her hometown of Sioux City.

Courtesy of The Sioux City Journal and Ian Richardson of The Sioux City Journal, click here! For the complete story, click here! Shelby Houlihan-SC East-ASU ©Mike Mahon

A proposal on next week’s Planning and Zoning Commission agenda would re-title an existing stretch of Lincoln Way near East High School “Houlihan Run” after the 24-year-old East High alumna, who placed 11th in the 5,000 meters during the 2016 Rio de Janeiro Summer Olympic Games.

Shelby Houlihan mapMayor Bob Scott, who put forth the proposal, said he had heard interest in the community and believed the city’s first female Olympics track runner deserved the recognition.

“I think our community rallied around her, and I think the community will get behind this,” the mayor told the Journal. “You have very few Olympic runners (from Sioux City). … If we have 10 more, we ought to find 10 more streets.”

Houlihan, a track standout at East High and Arizona State University, followed her Olympic performance by winning the 5,000 at the 2017 USA Outdoor track and Field Championships in June, qualifying for the world championships in London later this summer.

Laulauga Tausaga-Iowa
© Darren Miller/

Hawks Represent USA at Pan Ams

Laulauga Tausaga-Iowa © Darren Miller/

Laulauga Tausaga-Iowa
© Darren Miller/

This weekend University of Iowa track and field freshmen Nathan Mylenek and Laulauga Tausaga will represent the United States in the 2017 Pan American Junior Championships in Trujillo, Peru.

Mylenek and Tausaga will trade in their black and gold for red, white, and blue and join 83 athletes to represent Team USA in the 3,000 meter steeplechase and discus, respectively. The competition will be a once-in-a-lifetime experience.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Laulauga Tausaga-Iowa © Darren Miller/

“This is just a great experience,” said UI director of track and field Joey Woody, who competed in the 1999 and 2003 World Track & Field Championships. “Once you get that USA uniform on, there is no better feeling.”

The two have stretched their seasons long past their peers and it’s their mentality that keeps them going.
“It’s a mental thing,” Woody said. “It’s that drive that you have to keep figuring out how to keep going and they have both been training at a high level this summer.”

Tausaga is Iowa’s first Big Ten women’s discus champion in school history and became a first-team All-American in the discus during her first season.

At the United States Track & Field Junior Championships on June 22, Tausaga became a junior national champion in the event with a mark of 54.04 meters. Now, heading to an international competition in a foreign country, she can’t believe where track and field has taken her during her young career.

“I knew if I worked as hard and as I did I would make it to nationals,” Tausaga said. “I would have never thought I would have gotten there my freshman year and become an All-American and compete for this team.”

Mylenek made a name for himself during his first season at Iowa. He began his season last September during cross country where he led Iowa in the 8,000 meters with a time of 25:9.3, set at the Bradley Classic. The coaching staff sees him as a leader of a young core of distance runners.

“We had three freshmen out at USA juniors and those guys qualified in five events,” UI associate head coach Randy Hasenbank said.

Mylenek’s success stems from his ability to adapt to Hasenbank’s training quickly.

“He has adapted well to the training,” Hasenbank said. “He is easy to coach because he has so much range. He needs to work on his fitness and that is something we add over time.”

“After the first meet of cross country, I never thought I would have made it this far,” Mylenek said. “Then everything came together outdoors and I really took off.”

During track season, Mylenek became a 2017 NCAA qualifier in the 3,000-meter steeplechase and he is ranked fourth in school history in the event with a time of 8:56.78, a time he ran twice this season.

“This is cool to do this as a freshman and knowing all my hard work has paid off,” Mylenek said. “I am looking forward to racing. This is an awesome way to get your name on the national stage.”

Now, Mylenek and Tausaga end their seasons wearing red, white, and blue.

“Being able to represent team USA is a once-in-a-lifetime deal,” Hasenbank said. “It may never happen again because it is such a competitive world. This is something that is special considering the thousands of kids that don’t make it.”

The 2017 Pan Am Junior Championships run July 21-23 in Trujillo, Peru. The 3,000-meter steeplechase runs 10:40 a.m. (CT) on Saturday and the women’s discus throw begins 8 a.m. on Saturday.

UNI Women
©Jim Kirby

Next Level Iowa Podcast For July 18, 2017: UNI Coach Dave Paulsen


Coach Dave Paulsen ©Panthers Athletics

Coach Dave Paulsen
©Panthers Athletics

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk with UNI Panthers’ Head Coach Dave Paulsen.  We also get caught up on all of our Iowans competing professionally and overseas.

Feature Photo: 2016 UNI Women’s MVC Championship Team ©Panthers Athletics

All this and more on this week’s Next Level Iowa Podcast!

Hannah Truniger-UNI
©Jim Kirby

UNI’s Truniger to Represent USA at Pan AM Juniors

Hannah Truniger-UNI ©Panthers Athletics

Hannah Truniger-UNI
©Panthers Athletics

A fun run for UNI track and field’s Hannah Truniger turned into the opportunity to represent the U.S. in international competition this week.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo:Hannah Truniger-UNI ©Jim Kirby

Truniger earned a spot on the national team competing in the Pan American Junior Championships set in Peru July 21-23.

She took second in the 5,000-meter run in a time of 17 minutes, 5.37 seconds at the USATF Junior Outdoor Championships held June 23.

“I was very surprised,” said Truniger.  “I hadn’t been training a ton, because of injuries. So I went into the race with the mentality of having fun.”

Truniger’s history of injuries extends to her high school career where she suffered from fractures and an eating disorder.

“She is not afraid to share her journey, because she really wants to help other people,” said head coach Dave Paulsen. “She is using her past and how she is overcoming it. She is so open and willing to share with people, it really overcomes any type of barrier that might be there with anyone on the team. She is just a terrific young lady and willing to help anyone.”

Her eating disorder was evident to the competitor who beat her in the 3,200-meter run at the high school state meet Truniger’s freshman year. The champion pulled Truniger aside after their race and talked about her own eating disorder.

“Even though I was fast, I was thin and not healthy,” Truniger said. “It was obvious I had an eating disorder. My high school coaches were always encouraging me to do what was right for my body.”

So Truniger took months off competition and focused on healing.

“It’s always something to be conscious of, but it’s really something I feel like I have overcome,” she said. “It’s hard as a division I runner to not think about it. I think more coaches are being more aware. Our coaches stress healthy eating.”

Truniger ended her prep career as a two-time runner-up in the 3,200-meter run at the Minnesota state track and field championships.

“I have seen the coaches and my parents and the trainers support me,” Truniger said.  “I didn’t expect anything from racing in college. I thought I would be done. But I think God has really led me to this place. My faith has helped me out of that hole. I am very thankful.”

The struggle with injuries wore on Truniger, and she questioned her interest for collegiate competition.

“I came back with low expectations,” she said. “I have found a supportive family at UNI. I still can’t give up running. I just love it so much. I am grateful for the way the coaches at UNI have taken me along and not pushed me through injuries and allowed me to cross train to make my body strong. I am grateful for my high school coaches who have been there for me and my parents.”

“Deep down, she wants it for herself,” said assistant coach Alex Wilson. “We are just there to take some of the stress and panic off her. We just stress we want her to have the best experience, and we know she will do the best she can. We talk about her goals, but we aren’t going to pressure her before a big race. She knows what she wants to do. It’s more like holding the reins back on her than pushing her.”

Being injury-prone, Truniger’s training program is based on low mileage and includes workouts in the swimming pool.

“Your freshman year is really about the coaches learning the athlete and what works for them,” said Paulsen. “Every athlete has that balance of how much work they should put in, and Hannah’s workload just needs to be a little less than the typical distance runner. At the end of the day, if the athlete can’t run because they are injured, they can’t help you. So you are better off being undertrained than overtrained. I will give her a ton of credit, she does a lot of work on her own in the pool. And I have never seen anyone attack cross-training like Hannah does.”

She aims at running between 25-30 miles a week, which was plenty to earn her Missouri Valley Conference Freshman of the Year honors in cross country this last season.

The incoming sophomore saw a big jump in her times, shaving 2 minutes off her 5K time from high school. Truniger ran 16:23.87 at the Drake Relays in April.

“She is probably the most competitive person in a workout standpoint or racing standpoint,” said Wilson. “You know when she steps out on the track, you are going to get every ounce of ability out of her. Her going in with that mindset overcomes a lot of doubt of fitness. I know she struggles with it sometimes, because she wants to be able to do as much as the other girls on the team. She is just not able to do that on land. She is putting in just as much work, and I think she needs to remind herself of that sometimes.”

Coaches have helped plot out Truniger’s workouts, but she has had to prepare for the national meet and international competition on her own in her hometown of Watertown, Minnesota.

“It is mentally tougher, because I don’t have anyone to train with and run with,” Truniger said. “So you have to have a certain mental toughness.”

She did have the comfort of competing with a familiar face at the national championships. Teammate McKayla Cole took third, just behind Truniger.

“It was just so great to race with my teammate,” Truniger said. “She has been my training partner during indoor track. She is a super-motivated athlete. The training was a little different than what I was used to. I just went for it and did what I could.”

Truniger has dual citizenship in Switzerland, but she hasn’t been overseas since she participated in a mission trip in the Dominican Republic at the age of 15.

“I am really excited to meet some pro athletes like Candace Hill and others that I have only read about,” said Truniger. “I am so excited to race at an international level. I am hoping to run a good race and make some friends along the way.”

With the Junior Outdoor Championships held at the same time the senior level athletes compete, Truniger had the chance to compete in front of some big names she has looked up to in the sport.

“I heard Shalane Flanagan watched my whole race,” said Truniger. “When I was there trying on gear with pro athletes, it made it so real. It really made me realize this is bigger than myself, and I would be representing my country.”

“It was so awesome for her to see those professional athletes,” said Wilson. “And a lot of the stories I share with her are about professional athletes, so for her to be able to see someone at that high of a level who has gone through the same things, that has broadened her horizon. She doesn’t have that sheltered view of what it is like at that level. She chooses the right people to admire. That is a big part of it. I think both her and McKayla benefited from that experience.”

This week’s trip to Peru has forced Truniger to change some summer plans. She is working toward her certified nursing assistant degree while working at a group home and a local nursing home in Minnesota. She had to re-schedule some of her clinicals, but she is expected to earn the degree before she starts school this fall.

Truniger is a biochemisty major interested in pursuing medical school to specialize in sports pediatrics, but the recent success has her considering post-collegiate options.

“At first coming to college, I wouldn’t have considered it,” she said. “Now, I kind of want to keep running and maybe run at higher level. And if that happens, that would be awesome. I want to keep working to represent my team. I am grateful for my faith and how it’s brought me to this point, because I am able to run despite being nearly hospitalized and being destroyed by running.”

“That’s why we do this,” said Paulsen. “So student-athletes can come here and get an experience they didn’t think they could have when they got here. Now that she has competed at the U.S. championships and now she is going to go to the Pan Am Games, the Missouri Valley Conference Championships seems very reasonable and not so stress-worthy.”

Lisa Uhl-Ft. Dodge-ISU
©Jim Kirby

Next Level Iowa Podcast For July 11, 2017: The Lisa Uhl Camp of Champions


Lisa Uhl-Ft. Dodge-ISU ©Jim Kirby

Lisa Uhl-Ft. Dodge-ISU
©Jim Kirby

On this edition of the Next Level Iowa Podcast we talk about high school xc camp season that is going on across the country at this time every summer.  We checked in at the Lisa Uhl Camp of Champions to talk with Lisa, her husband Kiel Uhl and some of the others that make their camp one of the best.

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Missouri
©Jim Kirby

The Future is Bright For Mizzou and Schweizer, Nationally and Internationally

Marc Burns-Mizzou, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou ©Jim Kirby

Marc Burns-Mizzou, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Mizzou
©Jim Kirby

Schweizer and the Mizzou Tigers are attracting national and international attention.  After Schweizer’s  sensational junior year, the future is bright for both Karissa  and the Tigers. 

Feature photo: Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Missouri ©Jim Kirby

The international track and field web site Om Riyadat, speculated on the upcoming cross country season for the Mizzou Tigers as well as the international possible asperations for Schweizer. For the full article, click here!

After capturing her third national title in track and field, Schweizer will look to bring Mizzou women’s cross-country its first team national championship.

In November, it will be the one-year anniversary of rising senior Karissa Schweizer’s first national title. She captured her NCAA cross-country championship with a time of 19:41.6 in the 5,000-meter race at the national championship course in Terre Haute, Indiana. She followed up her first title with two more, the 5,000-meter indoor and outdoor national titles during her track and field campaign.

After winning her third national title at the historic Hayward Field in Eugene, Oregon, at the national outdoor championships, Schweizer became the fourth female runner in NCAA history to win the distance triple crown, which includes the NCAA cross-country title and the indoor and outdoor 5,000-meter titles in track and field.

Schweizer then competed in the USA track and field championships, where she faced both collegiate and professional athletes in the 5,000-meter run. She finished fourth with a time of 15:18.69 but was the top collegiate athlete in the event.


If either pro runners Molly Huddle, who graduated from Notre Dame in 2006, or Shannon Rowbury,who graduated from Duke University in 2007, drop out of the 5,000-meter run at the world championships, Schweizer will compete in the event as an alternate.

In addition to her All-American showing at last year’s cross-country national championships, Kempfer finished as an All-American in the 10,000-meter run during the track and field season. Her improvement has given the Tigers two elite runners and a nationally recognized one-two punch to lead the team next season.

A strong incoming freshman class and more championship experience for Schweizer and Kempfer should make the team a fierce competitor for first place next season.

The Tigers’ first goal will be to win the SEC championship meet. Last year, the team finished third behind Arkansas and Mississippi. Schweizer won the individual title and Kempfer finished fifth, but the team had no one else in the top 35.

Arkansas and Mississippi have both lost top runners to graduation, making the Tigers one of the deeper teams in the SEC.

After the conference season is complete, the team will look to improve its 16th place finish in the national championship meet, which will be held Nov. 18 in Louisville, Kentucky.

High school cross country generic

Top Teams Predicted This Coming XC Season

High school girls genericMilesplit-Iowa posted an article predicting the top teams for this season’s cross-country season based on t his past season’s track times in the 1500m for the girls and the 1600m times for the boys.

Take a look at Milesplit-Iowa’s list…

For the list of the the top high school girls teams, click here! 

For the list of the the top high school boys teams, click here! 

McKenzie Yanek-Pleasent Valley-Alabama
©Jim Kirby

Announcing “Next Level Iowa Preps!”

Trina Mareno-Urbandale-Utah ©Jim Kirby-2016

Trina Mareno-Urbandale-Utah
©Jim Kirby-2016

Welcome to Next Level Iowa Preps! This page will be dedicated to covering our Iowa High School track and field/xc athletes, their coaches, and their fans. We are dedicated in the same way to our high school athletes as we are to our college and pro athletes who make us proud to be from Iowa.

To kick things off, we want to draw your attention to our list of all our Iowan high school athletes who have committed to run, throw or jump in college. At this link, you’ll find a searchable list of current seniors and the school they have committed to. Click here!

As we continue the finishing touches on this page we invite you to send us your stories and ideas for o ur consideration and including on our new Next Level Iowa Preps!