All the news from Division I Mens and Womens Track.

Karson and Konner Sommer
©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com 2018

Hawkeye Brothers in Arms

Karson Sommer-Pleasant Valley-Iowa ©Mike Brynes 2018

Karson Sommer-Pleasant Valley-Iowa
©Mike Brynes 2018

It’s not uncommon for family members to share similar passions, and the Sommer brothers, Karson and Konnor, are no different. The Pleasant Valley (Iowa) High School graduates have reconnected in 2018, competing for the University of Iowa cross country team.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Karson and Konner Sommer©Darren Miller Hawkeyesports.com 2018

Karson is a two-time Academic All-Big Ten honoree, entering his junior season. Konnor is a freshman, eager and willing to learn from his big brother.

“The best part of having my brother on the team is that I already had a friend here, which helped me integrate easier into the team,” Konnor said. “It is nice to have someone on the team whom I can easily relate to and get along with.”

While Konnor sees comfort in Karson, the oldest Sommer uses his younger brother as motivation.

“Being the older brother, I don’t want to let Konnor beat me in any race, or even in a workout or in mileage,” Karson said. “Having been on the same high school team for two years, there has always been a driving factor to push each other to be better.”

The brothers leaned on and pushed each other during the offseason and first few weeks of the year, when Karson was unable to train with the team due to a summer job, and Konnor was evolving his running toward collegiate-level workouts.

“The majority of this summer, I went for my runs alone or with Konnor, which helped me on days where I might have felt less motivated after a day of work,” Karson said. “I think we will be able to help each other with training and support each other’s pursuits throughout our time in college. Being able to compete in college with a brother as a teammate is an experience that not very many people get to experience, and I look forward to the next few years.”

The brothers come to running naturally. Their father, Kevin Sommer, competed for the University of Wisconsin-Oshkosh as a sprinter and jumper.

“(Our dad) ran in college and continued to race competitively after college,” Karson said. “He competed in shorter races and horizontal jumps in high school and early in his college career, and enjoyed success as a distance runner after college. I think he wanted to push me toward distance running early so that I would have the opportunity to enjoy the sport in high school and college.”

The brothers have ran together since they were in fifth and seventh grade, respectively, as members of the Mississippi Valley Track Club. They’ve been pushing each other since, but the level of competition has increased, and they have surrounded themselves with a collection of talent that has upped the ante.

“We have a great group of guys that show up every day ready to put in the work that is going to help them at the end of the season,” Karson said. “One of the best things is having so many guys to run with, whether we are out on a run, a workout, or during a race. I also think it’s great that the team always has a positive outlook and high goals. We have outlined some goals as a team, and I think we are taking the steps to achieve those goals.”

Konnor echoes his brother’s outlook and says it pushes him to contribute.

“As a freshman I want to successfully make the transition from high school running to Division I running,” Konnor said. “I want to be a teammate who is supportive and reliable, someone who will put in the work each day to push myself and my teammates to excel and exceed expectations.”

The Hawkeyes return to the course Sept. 28 at the Notre Dame Invite. It is the first of three more regular season meets before the postseason begins Oct. 28 at the Big Ten Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska.

Drake Stadium

Bulldogs Win Big at OZ

Maximilian Fridrich-Drake ©Bulldogs Athletics 2018

Maximilian Fridrich-Drake
©Bulldogs Athletics 2018

Drake University sophomore Maximilian Fridrich (Salzburg, Austria) has been named the Missouri Valley Conference Male Cross Country Athlete of the Week, the league announced Tuesday, Sept. 11.

Courtesy Bulldogs Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Maximilian Fridrich-Drake@Bulldogs Athletics 2018

Fridrich won Friday’s Oz Memorial by nearly 10 seconds with a time of 20:09.6 on the 4-mile course at the University of Minnesota’s Les Bolstad Course. He pulled away from the 42-man field with athletes from Minnesota, Minnesota St., and Concordia-St. Paul to win the event.

Fridrich, who is the returning MVC Cross Country Freshman of the Year, bested his Oz Memorial time from last season by more than a minute.

Fridrich and the Bulldogs have two weeks off from competition to train for their next event, the prestigious Roy Griak Invitational, also hosted by Minnesota, Sept. 29.

Mizzou's Iowans: Hannah Thomas-Dowling, Kate Smith-Ankeny Centenial, Jordon Kleve, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling
©Mizzou Athletics

Kleve Off to a Great Start For 2018

Jordyn Kleve-Johnston-Mizzou and Jamie Kempfer-Mizzou ©Mizzou Athletics-2017

Jordyn Kleve-Johnston-Mizzou and Jamie Kempfer-Mizzou
©Mizzou Athletics-2017

The Mizzou Cross Country team opened its season on Saturday at the Brooks Twilight Classic in Memphis, Tenn., as the women’s team took first place while the men’s team place second. Junior Melissa Menghini (Fenton, Mo.) placed second at the meet, and was the top attached scorer, while five other Tigers placed in the top-five. Redshirt junior Thomas George (Gloucester, England) finished first for Mizzou and third overall to pace the men.

Courtesy Mizzou Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Mizzou’s Iowans: Hannah Thomas-Dowling, Kate Smith-Ankeny Centenial, Jordon Kleve, Karissa Schweizer-Dowling©Mizzou Athletics 2016

 

NOTABLE TIGERS

Menghini paced the Tigers in the women’s race, crossing the finish line at 17:46.88, while five other Tigers placed in the top-10, including three freshman. Freshman Mikayla Reed (Washington, Mo.) finished sixth at 18:13.89, while freshman Tori Findley (Blue Springs, Mo.) finished seventh at 18:14.26, redshirt junior Sophia Racette (St. Louis, Mo.) eighth at 18:14.47, redshirt junior Jordyn Kleve (Urbandale, Iowa) ninth at 18:29.41 and freshman Reilly Revord (Hinsdale, Ill.) 10th at 18:34.02.

For the men, George crossed the finish line at 20:14.04 in a four-mile race, while junior Kieran Wood (Cambridge, U.K.) finished eighth at 20:36.15.

UP NEXT

Mizzou will next run in two weekends at the Illinois State Invitational, Friday, Sept. 14, in Normal, Ill., at 5 p.m. (CT). It will be the second of five regular season meets for Mizzou before opening the postseason at the SEC Championships on Oct. 26, at Auburn, Ala.

For all the latest on Mizzou Track & Field, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram (MIZ_TrackField).

WOMEN’S 5K RESULTS – 1st Place (31 points, 1-6-7-8-9-10-18)
1. Melissa Menghini, 17:46.88 // 6. Mikayla Reed, 18:13.89 // 7. Tori Findley, 18:14.26 // 8. Sophia Racette, 18:14.47 // 9. Jordyn Kleve, 18:29.41 // 10. Reilly Revord, 18:34.02 // 18. Emma Roth, 18:51.74 // 27. Lexi Maddox, 19:04.31 // 29. Jenna Lutzow, 19:08.65 // 32. Karina Liz, 19:12.42 // 40. Samantha Farmer, 19:19.85 // 46. Kayla Glowacki, 19:36.06 // 54. Kayla Funkenbusch, 19:45.94 // 56. Shannon Browning, 19:49.09 // 70. Abby Hake, 20:07.50 // 71. Susan Forbis, 20:09.27 // 88. Lilly Hamilton, 20:40.53 // 93. Erica Rideout, 20:52.71 // 117. Faramola Shonekan, 21:38.88

MEN’S 4-MILE RESULTS – 2nd Place (71 points, 3-8-17-21-22-31-42)
3. Thomas George, 20:14.04 // 8. Kieran Wood, 20:36.15 // 17. Oaklee Hauschild, 20:52.82 // 21. Stephen Mugeche, 20:58.26 // 22. Michael Widmann, 20:58.45 // 31. Evan Schulte, 21:18.87// 43. Jacob Schweiss, 21:32.06 // 42. Justin Loquercio, 21:44.41 // 60. Chris Conrad, 21:54.68 // 76. Robert Kuhlmann, 22:19.14 // 83. Dylan Quisenberry, 22:25.09

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-WSU
©Jim Kirby

Guess Who’s Back?!

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St ©Jim Kirby 2017

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St
©Jim Kirby 2017

After deciding to take a redshirt year specifically to train, junior Rebekah Topham has her sights on becoming the next NCAA All-American for the Wichita State cross country team.

Read the full Kansas.com, article, click here! Feature photo: Rebekah Topham-Griswold-WSU©Jim Kirby

Topham came agonizingly close to a NCAA championship berth in cross country and outdoor track and field during the 2016-17 season, prompting her long-term vision to sit out a year in order to be in a better position to achieve her goals.

Now the junior from Griswold, Iowa, is in the best shape of her running career. She showed a glimpse of what might be ahead with her school-record performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10 minutes, 0.59 seconds), finishing 13th in the USATF Senior Outdoor Championships in June.

“That performance has given her confidence and when you inject confidence into an athlete with the potential of Rebekah, you can’t stop them,” WSU cross country coach Kirk Hunter said. “They become unstoppable.”

WSU opens its cross country season on Saturday at the J.K. Gold Classic held at the R.A.F.T. course in Augusta. The men’s 6,000 race begins at 8:30 a.m. with the women’s 4,000 slated for 9.

It will be the first time in almost two years Topham will compete in a Shocker uniform, something that she says didn’t bother her last season. She admits to sometimes longing to compete again, but she points out she was still able to run unattached at a handful of meets and she rather enjoyed being able to focus solely on training.

“I feel like I was able to stay motivated very easily,” Topham said. “I kept thinking if I just had this year to only focus on training and improving, then maybe I can make it to nationals and do big things the next few years.”

Topham’s savviness and knowledge when it comes to distance running is second to none at her age, Hunter said. Now that her foundation is so much stronger entering the season, Hunter believes Topham has the chance to be one of the best runners in the country.

“She doesn’t just want to be a good Division I runner, she wants to be a NCAA All-American, a champion,” Hunter said. “And she has that kind of talent.”

Read more here: https://www.kansas.com/sports/college/wichita-state/article217598875.html#storylink=cpy
Rebeka Topham-Griswold-Wichita State 
©Jim Kirby-2016

Shocker’s Topham and Ready to Romp

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-WSU ©Jim Kirby

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-WSU
©Jim Kirby

After deciding to take a redshirt year specifically to train, junior Rebekah Topham has her sights on becoming the next NCAA All-American for the Wichita State cross country team.

Read full article, click here! Feature photo: Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita State ©Jim Kirby-2016 

 

Topham came agonizingly close to a NCAA championship berth in cross country and outdoor track and field during the 2016-17 season, prompting her long-term vision to sit out a year in order to be in a better position to achieve her goals.

Now the junior from Griswold, Iowa, is in the best shape of her running career. She showed a glimpse of what might be ahead with her school-record performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase (10 minutes, 0.59 seconds), finishing 13th in the USATF Senior Outdoor Championships in June.

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“That performance has given her confidence and when you inject confidence into an athlete with the potential of Rebekah, you can’t stop them,” WSU cross country coach Kirk Hunter said. “They become unstoppable.”

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WSU opens its cross country season on Saturday at the J.K. Gold Classic held at the R.A.F.T. course in Augusta. The men’s 6,000 race begins at 8:30 a.m. with the women’s 4,000 slated for 9.

It will be the first time in almost two years Topham will compete in a Shocker uniform, something that she says didn’t bother her last season. She admits to sometimes longing to compete again, but she points out she was still able to run unattached at a handful of meets and she rather enjoyed being able to focus solely on training.

“I feel like I was able to stay motivated very easily,” Topham said. “I kept thinking if I just had this year to only focus on training and improving, then maybe I can make it to nationals and do big things the next few years.”

Topham’s savviness and knowledge when it comes to distance running is second to none at her age, Hunter said. Now that her foundation is so much stronger entering the season, Hunter believes Topham has the chance to be one of the best runners in the country.

“She doesn’t just want to be a good Division I runner, she wants to be a NCAA All-American, a champion,” Hunter said. “And she has that kind of talent.”

The return of Topham also instantly turns WSU’s women’s team into a contender in the American Athletic Conference.

After a sixth-place finish last year, Hunter figures WSU should be near the top with Topham pairing with Winny Koskei to form the conference’s best duo. Rita Schnacker, Yazmine Wright and Winnie Kibet also give the Shockers much-needed depth.

“We went through our bumps and bruises last year, but now it’s leading us to have a much better two years because of it,” Hunter said. “That’s because Rebekah didn’t just redshirt, she trained and improved and took her performances to another level. That’s how you’re supposed to do it.”

WSU’s men’s team finished fifth in the conference last season and returns a wealth of depth. Hunter counts as many as 12 runners who could be counted upon this season with returners Zack Penrod, Ben Flowers and Pedro Montoya leading the way and newcomers Clayton Duchatschek and Jed Helker also helping.

Read more here: https://www.kansas.com/sports/college/wichita-state/article217598875.html#storylink=cpy

UNI Women's Cross Country-2017
©Panthers Athletics

Panthers Open Season Ranked

UNI Men's XC 2016 ©Panther's Athletics

UNI Men’s XC 2016
©Panther’s Athletics

UNI women’s Cross Country opens the season ranked eighth in the Midwest Region of the USTFCCA Cross Country Preseason rankings, released Monday by the association.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: UNI Women’s Cross Country-2017©Panthers Athletics

The Panthers are coming off of a second-place finish at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship and McKayla Cole is the reigning MVC Freshman of the year.

Gabby Champion also returns to the team off of her MVC Honorable Mention All-Conference Performance in 2017.

Alyssa Williams and Gabby Skopec finished top-50 at the MVC championship in 2017 and again run for the Panthers.

The Panthers take the course at the University of Iowa’s Ashton Cross-Country Course in Iowa City to kick-start the season.

Freshmen Jill Vonahme and Paige Holub join the veteran Panther squad at the first meet.

On the men’s side, MVC Top-30 finishers CJ May and Alex Johnson return to lead the Panthers. Joining the squad in Iowa City are three freshmen Addy Kalb, Andrew Kephart and Sam McCool.

Simpson Women's XC
©Jim Kirby 2017

Full Slate of XC Meets This Weekend

Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm. © Jill Dahlstrom-2017

Joanna Topham-Griswald-Hawkeye Comm.
© Jill Dahlstrom-2017

The 2018 Cross Country season will begin for most Iowa colleges and universities this weekend.

The following is a list of the meets that we are aware of and the Iowa schools listed to attend them.

If you know of changes, please send them our way: mikejay59@gmail.com

Feature photo: Simpson Women’s XC©Jim Kirby 2017

Friday, August 31:

Hawkeye Invitational at University of Iowa, 6:00 PM: Iowa, Iowa State, Drake, UNI.

Augustana Twilight at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, SD, 8:30 PM: Buena Vista, Morningside, Northwestern College, Briar Cliff,

John Kurtt Opener at Wartburg, 6:00 PM: Wartburg, Hawkeye Comm. College.

Dutch Opener at Central, 6:00 PM: Central, Clarke, Grinnell.

Bill Buxton Invite at Simpson, 5:30 PM: Simpson, Iowa Wesleyan, Graceland, DMACC (women only), Southwestern Comm. College.

Saturday, September 1:

24th Annual Mustang Gallop at Mt. Mercy: Mt. Mercy, Cornell, Coe, Dubuque, Scott Comm. College, Southeastern Comm. College.

St. Mary’s University Open: Luther

Iowa Cross Country Course
©Jim Kirby

Hawks to Open Season by Hosting the Hawkeye Invitational

Randy Hasenbank-Iowa ©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

Randy Hasenbank-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

The University of Iowa cross country team opens its 2018 season hosting the Hawkeye Invitational on Friday, Aug. 31 at the Ashton Cross Country Course.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics, click here! Feature photo: Iowa Cross Country Course©Jim Kirby

The women’s 4,000 meters starts at 6 p.m. (CT), and the men’s 6,000-race follows at 6:45 p.m. Admission is free.

The 2018 schedule was released Thursday by the University of Iowa Athletics Department.

The Hawkeye Invitational is the first of five regular season meets for the men and women. Both squads make trips to Nebraska, Notre Dame, and Illinois. On the weekend of Oct. 12-13, the women compete at Bradley and the men travel to Wisconsin.

The postseason begins Oct. 28 at the Big Ten Championships in Lincoln, Nebraska. The NCAA Regionals are Nov. 9 at Peoria, Illinois, and the NCAA Championships are Nov. 17 at Madison, Wisconsin.

The complete schedule is available at hawkeyesports.com.

isu xc course

Coach Rudolph Set to Lead Cyclone Women

Amy Rudolph-ISU ©Cyclones Athletics

Amy Rudolph-ISU
©Cyclones Athletics

Amy Rudolph, one of America’s greatest female long distance runners, has been named Iowa State’s Associate Head Women’s Cross Country Coach/Assistant Track and Field Coach. Senior Associate Athletics Director Dr. Calli Sanders made the announcement Tuesday.

Courtesy Cyclones Athletics, click here! Feature photo: © Cyclones Athletic

Rudolph is a two-time United States Olympian (5,000 meters), seven-time World Championship team member and three-time USA National Champion. She was a finalist in the 5,000 meters (finishing 10th) at the 1996 Olympics in Atlanta. Rudolph set an American record in 1996, running the 5k in 14:56.04.

“I would like to thank Director of Track and Field and Cross Country Martin Smith, Athletics Director Jamie Pollard and Senior Associate Athletics Director Dr. Calli Sanders for the wonderful opportunity to join the Cyclone family,” Rudolph said. “I am excited to get to Ames, meet the team and get the season underway. I am looking forward to leading this very talented women’s distance squad to continued success in the Big 12 Conference and NCAA Championships.”

She was a two-time (1997 and 2002) U.S. Indoor Champion in the 3,000 meters, a two-time (1998 and 1999) U.S. short course cross country champion and the 1998 U.S. 8-kilometer road racing champ.

As a collegian at Providence, she won two NCAA Championships (indoor mile and outdoor 1,500) in 1994, earned 10 All-American awards and was a three-time BIG EAST champion in the 3,000. Rudolph was inducted into the Friars’ Athletics Hall of Fame in 2008.

“Amy’s credentials as one of the premiere long distance runners in American history speak for themselves,” Sanders said. “Her accolades as a competitor are world elite, but we were equally impressed with her personal attributes and vision for teaching her sport and training student-athletes as a coach. Amy inherits an outstanding group of runners and her experience is a perfect match for our nationally ranked program.”

An assistant coach at Drake last year, she also served as a volunteer assistant coach at Auburn (2010-17), assistant coach at Providence (2005-07) and an assistant coach at Bryant (2004).

“We are thrilled to be able to add Amy to our staff, especially at this late date,” Director of Track & Field and Cross Country Martin Smith said. “She brings instant credibility, understands the work ethic of championship runners and, most importantly, will fit seamlessly with our current staff and student-athletes. Amy’s running credentials, both as a collegian and professional, put her in an elite category. Her championship pedigree matches well with the championship culture in place with our Iowa State women’s program.”

A life-long runner, she ran her first competitive race – 50-yard dash – at the age of 6. An eight-time state champion in Pennsylvania, she never lost a dual as a prep.

Rudolph earned a Bachelor of Science degree (1995) from Providence in Health Policy and Management. Her husband (Mark Carroll) is the Director of Track & Field and Cross Country at Drake. He was also an accomplished runner having represented Ireland in both the 2000 and 2004 Olympics.

UNI Women's XC 2017
©Jim Kirby 2017

Panthers Predict Big Things in 2018

UNI Men's XC 2016 ©Panther's Athletics

UNI Men’s XC 2016
©Panther’s Athletics

The UNI women’s cross country team was picked to finish fourth in the 2018 MVC preseason poll released today by the league.

The women’s team is coming off a year that saw the program’s highest finish at a regional meet after claiming seventh overall at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics, click here! Feature photo: UNI Women’s XC 2017 ©Jim Kirby 2017

The Panthers graduated Brette Correy, Ashley Norem and Tiffany Christensen but return McKayla Cole, Gabby Champion and Alyssa Williams from that regional roster.

Cole was named MVC Freshman of the Year. She was 10th at the MVC Championships. The Panthers were picked to finish first and took second place at the 2017 championships. In 2016, UNI

CJ May returns to lead the men’s team, which was picked to finish seventh in the preseason poll. His finish at last year’s championships was a personal best placing at the meet for the junior. May took 22nd and Alex Jackson took 28th. The men return Ben Alrichs. Logan Murray and Ethan Smith who competed on the MVC championship lineup.

UNI finished seventh in last year’s men’s race.

SCHEDULE

UNI will open its schedule at the Hawkeye Invite 6 p.m. Aug. 31. The team will head to Bradley’s course in Peoria, Illinois, at least three times to compete this season. The Braves will be hosting the Missouri Valley Conference Championships Oct. 27.

  • Aug. 31 – Hawkeye Invite | Iowa City, Iowa | 6 p.m.
  • Sept. 14 – Bradley Intercollegiate | Peoria, Illinois | 5:45 p.m.
  • Sept. 29 – Roy Girak Invitational | Minneapolis, Minnesota | TBD
  • Oct. 12 – Bradley Pink Classic | Peoria, Illinois | 4 p.m.
  • Oct. 27 – MVC Championships | Peoria, Illinois | 11:30 a.m.
  • Nov. 9 – NCAA Midwest Regional | Peoria, Illinois