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Drake Women's Cross Country 2015
©Doug Wells

Huston Leads Bulldogs at the Oz

Emma Huston-DM Roosevelt-Drake ©Doug Wells

Emma Huston-DM Roosevelt-Drake
©Doug Wells

The Drake University cross country teams recorded three top-five finishes on Friday evening at the annual Oz Memorial hosted by the University of Minnesota at the Les Bolstad Golf Course.

The men’s team finished third in the team standings with junior Reed Fischer (Minnetonka, Minn.) and senior Rob McCann (Mississauga, Ontario) finishing second and third overall, respectively. Fischer recorded a six-kilometer time of 18:50.9 while McCann came in at 19:01.0. South Dakota State’s Trent Lusignan won the race in 18:40.6

Senior Emma Huston (Des Moines, Iowa) led the women’s team to a fourth-place finish in the team standings by finishing second overall in the women’s 6-kilometer race. Huston recorded a time of 21:56.6 in the 62-runner field. Krista Maguire (Wausau, Wis.) was the second Bulldog across the finish line in 22:59.4 while three others finished in the top-30. Minnesota’s Liz Berkholtz won the race in 21:48.6.

The Bulldogs return to Des Moines, Iowa, for their next competition, the Grand View Invite, Friday, Sept. 18.

Madie Waymire leads the Hawkeye Women-DC Grimes-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics-2016

Hawk’s Waymire At it Again

Madie Waymire-DC Grimes-Iowa ©Hawkeye Athletics

Madie Waymire-DC Grimes-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics

Senior Anthony Gregorio and sophomore Madison Waymire led the University of Iowa men’s and women’s cross country teams at the Illinois State Invitational on Friday.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics

On the women’s side, Waymire captured bronze in the 5,000-meter race when she crossed the finish line in 17:52.6. The Grimes, Iowa, native has been Iowa’s top finisher for the past two consecutive races. Junior Tess Wilberding (14th/18:17.5) was the Hawkeyes’ second finisher. The Iowa women finished fifth overall.

“There was some progress on the women’s side but not as much as I would have liked,” Anderson said. “Waymire was our leader again. She looked good and controlled throughout the race.”

Anthony

Gregorio completed the 8,000-meter course in 25:07.3 to finish ninth, respectively, while junior Ben Anderson (10th/25:11.2) also cracked the top ten to lead the Hawkeyes to a second-place finish overall. The Iowa men (80 points) fell one point shy of tying the overall team winner, Illinois State (79 points).

“There was a much better group effort on the men’s side,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “We had guys running the 8,000 meters for the first time. They didn’t run together for as long as I would have liked, but the team got out and packed up well. We fell two-tenths of a second shy of Illinois State’s team time. Overall, it was a good step forward and a successful trip.”

Sophomore Michael Melchert (16th/25:21.3), and juniors Kevin Docherty (22nd/25:32.6) and Nate Ferree (23rd/25:32.7) rounded out Iowa’s score.

On the women’s side, Waymire captured bronze in the 5,000-meter race when she crossed the finish line in 17:52.6. The Grimes, Iowa, native has been Iowa’s top finisher for the past two consecutive races. Junior Tess Wilberding (14th/18:17.5) was the Hawkeyes’ second finisher. The Iowa women finished fifth overall.

“There was some progress on the women’s side but not as much as I would have liked,” Anderson said. “Waymire was our leader again. She looked good and controlled throughout the race.”

Iowa returns to action October 2 with the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Indiana.

“We had some athletes out sick, which is impacting our group performance,” Anderson said. “We will be spending these next couple of weeks getting everybody healthy for the Notre Dame Invitational. It will be a super competitive meet and we need to run well individually and as a group on both sides.”

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St.
©Shocker Athletics

Topham Mo. Valley Athlete of the Week!

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St  ©Jim Kirby

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St
©Jim Kirby

Wichita State freshman Rebekah Topham was named the Missouri Valley Conference Female Cross Country Athlete of the Week, it was announced today by the MVC Office.

Courtesy Shocker Athletics

Topham won her first collegiate cross country race in her very first outing Saturday at the 67th Annual J.K. Gold Classic at the R.A.F.T. Course near Augusta, Kan.

The Griswold, Iowa native ran the 4K course in 14:13.9 to lead the team to the title. She won the race by 6.3 seconds over teammate Emilea Finley.

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St 
©Jim Kirby

Topham Fitting In Nicely With Shockers

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St  ©Jim Kirby

Rebekah Topham-Griswold-Wichita St
©Jim Kirby

Wichita State’s men’s and women’s cross country teams took the top five invdividual places to score the lowest possible number of points in the University races to dominate the 67th J.K. Gold Classic Saturday morning at the R.A.F.T. Course.

Courtesy Shocker Athletics

On the women’s side, the Shockers defeated Kansas State in dual action, 15-47, and ORU, 15-50. On the men’s side it was the Shockers over Kansas State, 15-47, and over ORU, 15-49. Kansas State defeated ORU in both races.

Shocker true freshman Rebekah Topham won the women’s 4K race in a time of 14:13.9, followed by Emilea Finley with a time of 14.20.2. Lycia Hollon claimed was third with a time of 14:41.3, while Jordan Maestas was the fourth Shocker with a time of 14:47.0 and Kayla Deighan was the fifth in 14:54.5.

Overall, Shocker Sidney Hirsch, who was the 2014 champion and was running unattached, placed third with a time of 14:26.7, while Barton County’s Lydia Mato was fourth overall in a time of 14:39.6 to win the College Race.

Kansas State’s Mady Nestor finished eighth overall and was the highest-finishing Division I non-Shocker with a time of 15:13.4.

“On the women’s side, I was very pleased with the individual win by Rebekah Topham and our team,” said Head Coach Kirk Hunter. “There was great poise for a freshman to win her first collegiate meet ever. I was also very pleased with Finley, Hirsch, (unattached), Hollon and Maestas. They brought in a great pack, and looked very strong throughout the race. Our women are banged up some, but once we get rid of those issues, we could possibly be a big surprise by year’s end.”

On the men’s side in the 6K race, Ugis Jocis was the top-finishing Shocker who was racing to score for WSU (18:56.8), while Brady Johnson finished behind him with a time of 18:57.

Overall on the men’s side, Barton County’s Laari Sampson won the race with a time of 18:36.5, which also on the College race, while Shocker Paul Raymond, last year’s champion, was running unattached and finished second overall with a time of 18:47.8.

Also scoring in the top five for WSU was Nathan Wickoren who ran the course in 18:58.1, Dray Carson with a time of 19:06.6 and freshman Reno Law with a time of 19:11.0.

Gage Garcia, who redshirted a year ago for WSU, also finished in the top 10 with a time of 19:24.0.

“For the men, the pack was the highlight of the day!” Hunter said. “It was a great job by the upperclassmen helping the newcomers, and great job by all of them to stay together as long as they could. I was pleased that the team wasn’t against sacrificing their own personal glory for the good of the team. There were great performances by all, but special credit to Nathan Wickoren and Reno Law for their races today.”

Kansas State’s Kain Ellis was the top-finishing Division I non-Shocker with a time of 19:18.3 to place eighth overall.

Madison Waymire-DCG-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics

Hawks Waymire at Home With the Hawks

Madison Waymire-DCG-Iowa ©Hawkeye Athletics

Madison Waymire-DCG-Iowa
©Hawkeye Athletics

A pair of newcomers led the University of Iowa cross country teams at the season-opening Early Bird Invitational on Friday at the Ashton Cross Country Course.

Ian Eklin, a freshman from Plymouth, Minnesota, placed third in the men’s 6,000-meters. Eklin competed unattached in his first collegiate race, finishing four seconds behind the winner in 19:13.5.

Madison Waymire, a native of Grimes, Iowa, who transferred from the University of Missouri following her freshman season, placed fifth in the women’s 3,000 meters. Waymire crossed the finish in 10:29.2 to lead the Hawkeyes in her Iowa debut.

“Coach wanted us to stay relaxed and controlled during the race,” Waymire said. “It was go out there, get a race under your belt, feel good and feel strong. I feel like I did that today and it puts me in a good spot for the rest of the season.”

Eklin, one of three unattached freshman to finish in the top 20, finished 11 spots ahead of Iowa’s top scorers. Junior Ben Anderson and sophomore Michael Melchert placed 14th and 15th, respectively. Anderson finished in 19:30.2, just ahead of Melchert’s 19:30.3. It marked the third time in his career Anderson was the Hawkeyes’ top finisher, but he said after the race he is more concerned about the team finish than earning top individual honors.

“Today was work together for as long as possible and get ready for what is a long season,” said Anderson. “We’re training for November and we just want to feel good right now. I doesn’t matter for us who the top guy is. We want interchangeable parts, so whoever is on their game that day can be the top guy. If it’s me, so be it. If it’s not, so be it.”

The Hawkeye women had two freshman and two sophomores place in the top 20. Iowa totaled 65 points for a third-place finish. Top-ranked Iowa State won the meet with 17 points. The Hawkeye men finished in fourth place with 87 points.

“We were led by our youth today,” said UI head coach Layne Anderson. “We had some show tremendous potential, while others showed they didn’t have it today. We have confidence in everyone and the good news is it is a short week. We have a chance to put together better performances next Friday.”

The Hawkeyes return to the course Sept. 11, at the Illinois State Invitational in Normal, Illinois.

“We have to regroup,” said Anderson. “We can’t over analyze this. The season isn’t defined by one particular race unless it’s the last race of the season. This is our first meet. We know what we’re capable of. We saw that with some guys today. We have to get recovered and get back to training next week.”

Drake Women's Cross Country 2015
©Doug Wells

Bulldogs Open Season at Home and in the Heat

Josh Yeager-Center Point-Drake ©Doug Wells

Josh Yeager-Center Point-Drake
©Doug Wells

The Drake University cross country teams opened their 2015 season on Friday evening at the Bulldog Classic 4k at Ewing Park on the Southside of Des Moines.

The meet, which comes after just a week of training as a team, served as the program’s initial benchmark of the team’s fitness.

“It was a good, first hard workout of the season,” said Drake head coach Dan Hostager. “It was good to get one under our belt and it gives our younger kids the opportunity to step up and they looked strong. Each week builds on itself and the month of September is about training and that’s where our focus is now.”
The Bulldogs raced against competitors from Southwestern Community College and easily swept the top spots in both the men’s and women’s 4-kilometer races.

Junior Reed Fischer (Minnetonka, Minn.) took top honors in the men’s race, winning 13:00 while sophomore Chris Kaminski (New Lenox, Ill.) was second in 13:13.

was the top newcomer for the Bulldogs, taking third in 13:26 as Drake runners claimed the top seven spots in the race.

The women’s team was equally dominant with the first 12 collegiate runners across the line all decked out in blue. Senor Emma Huston (Des Moines, Iowa) finished first in 14:35 while Taylor Scholl (Prior Lake, Minn.) was third in 15:31 followed by Bailee Cofer (Overland Park, Kan.) in fourth. Former Drake standout Casey McDermott, competing for Runablaze, was second overall in 14:43.

The Bulldogs return to action Friday, Sept. 11, at the annual Oz Memorial hosted by the University of Minnesota in Minneapolis.

Drake Women’s Results
1. Emma Huston, 14:35
3. Taylor Scholl, 15:31
4. Bailee Cofer, 15:41
5. Cassie Aerts, 15:43
6. Erica Bestul, 16:01
7. Meghan Kearney, 16:08
8. Laura Gann, 16:24
9. Katie Berger, 16:47
10. Shelby Varney, 17:21
11. Theresa McAlister, 17:22
12. Elana Breitenbucher, 17:56

Drake Men’s Results
1. Reed Fischer, 13:00
2. Chris Kaminski, 13:13
3. Josh Yeager, 13:26
4. Ali Jandal, 13:27
5. James Saxton, 13:30
6. Mick Norton, 13:39
7. George Webb, 13:56
12. John Freeman, 14:19
13. Cole Friedman, 14:39
15. Ryan Tunink, 14:41

Crystal Nelson and Katy Moen ISU
©Jim Kirby

Iowa State’s Crystal Nelson Heroic Fight Against Depression

Crystal Nelson-ISU ©Jim Kirby

Crystal Nelson-ISU
©Jim Kirby

Alone with her thoughts inside the comfort of her apartment, ISU women’s track and cross-country runner Crystal Nelson began questioning whether her life had a purpose.

by Kyle Helm of The Iowa State Daily 

The struggles with depression that she had spent the past couple of years at Iowa State trying to hide had reached a peak and left her pondering suicide.

“It was just upsetting because at that moment I was like, ‘I don’t even want to be here anymore,’” Nelson said.

A passion for running

Nelson grew up with the kind of energy that only physical activity could control.

While her classmates in grade school needed a nudge at the starting line of the mile, Nelson needed an incentive to not run two miles.

“It was also the one time I could become one with my competitive nature and not get in trouble for it,” Nelson wrote in a blog.

Her passion for running developed into a spot on her middle school’s cross-country and track and field teams and continued through her four years of high school.

The Winchester, Va., native was a three-time high school state champion in the 1,600-meter run and both the indoor and outdoor 3,200-meter runs. The result was a scholarship to run collegiately at Iowa State.

Nelson was entering a bright collegiate running career, but she was also entering the emptiest moments of her life.

Toughest days ahead

The week before Nelson arrived at Iowa State, her parents were in the process of getting a divorce.

Nelson said it was chaotic when her mom and dad helped her move in because they weren’t seeing eye to eye. She felt like she was stuck in the middle.

“I just felt like my life was getting out of control a little bit,” Nelson said. “I was searching for control, [but] I didn’t know where I could find it. I couldn’t get control in school.”

Nelson turned to food and nutrition.

“That did not work well at all because I took it to an extreme where my weight went way below a healthy weight,” she said. “When I realized that people were making comments like, ‘Oh my gosh, you look so thin. What’s wrong?’ I had to isolate myself a lot from people. A lot of times I wouldn’t even come out of my room because I just didn’t want to be around everyone.”

Nelson knew she had depression, and it would get worse before it started getting better.

“I was in my apartment [last February], and I just felt like everything was going wrong,” Nelson said. “That next day is when I pulled coach [Andrea Grove-McDonough] aside in the bunker at [Lied Recreation Athletic Center], and I was like, ‘I need help. I can’t do this alone.’”

Grove-McDonough could connect. She has experienced similar issues in her own immediate family and noticed from the time she arrived at Iowa State that Nelson was struggling.

Grove-McDonough told Nelson about her own family history and her own personal journey, which she believes helped Nelson open up.

“I said to her, ‘I could look at you and see you were not well,’” Grove-McDonough said. “I just felt like somebody needed to be there not only just to push her to get help but also just to be there for the days, for the dark days.”

Nelson went to see a doctor and was told she had depression.

“My doctor just said what I’m feeling comes from me being really anxious and having a lot of anxiety, and my eating disorder probably triggered it a lot,” Nelson said.

Nelson and Grove-McDonough’s relationship became more than just one of a coach and runner. Nelson became part of her coach’s family.

Grove-McDonough said she believed there was a time when Nelson questioned whether or not Grove-McDonough cared so much about her because she needed Nelson on the team.

“I realized that at one point,” Grove-McDonough said. “I think there was some doubt, and she needed to see not that I didn’t care, but I kind of didn’t care whether she wanted to walk away even from running that I was not going to convince her she shouldn’t if that was what was going to be part of her process to heal.

“But I still was going to be involved in her life if she would allow me to be. Because at that point, whether I should have or shouldn’t have, that ship had sailed. I was involved. I’d come to really care about her. That struggle brought us closer, and I felt a certain maternal sense to protect her or do what I could.”

Grove-McDonough told Nelson at the end of last year and again this year that the most successful thing she will have done in coaching will be if Nelson graduates and gets in a good place and the two of them get through this.

“I really feel like I’m in it with her,” Grove-McDonough said. “And that will be the thing I’m most proud of. Beyond anything she may or may not do athletically, beyond anything she did as an athlete last year. It really doesn’t mean that much in the end. But this will mean a lot.”

Nelson wrote a blog about her experience with depression in May after the outdoor track and field season. She was back home in Virginia and said after posting her story she immediately began to receive positive feedback but later got backlash from people she was really close to.

She said she began receiving phone calls and text messages saying that it was a really bad idea to post, that she would never get a job and other people would see her in the wrong way.

“It kind of put me four steps backward because I felt so empowered and so good with myself for once, but then when I found out the people really close to me didn’t approve, it was really disappointing,” Nelson said.

Nelson decided to return to Ames for the remainder of the summer, where she could get support from her coach, doctors and counselor.

She said she’s still dealing with depression, but it’s better than it was earlier this year.

“I think what really got me through it was probably after track season and after the blog post and after the backlash I got from it, and I came back [to Ames],” Nelson said. “I’ll be honest, coach McDonough was like a mom to me. I think she was the person who really got me through it and was my biggest supporter.

“I just want to encourage people to get help and to know that there are so many resources on campus to go to and so many people that understand and that they’re not alone.”

Iowa State Women Cross Country Team 2014

Cyclone Women Begin 2015 Ranked #1 in the Midwest

Iowa State 2014 Conference Champion ©Cyclone Athletics

Iowa State 2014 Conference Champion
©Cyclone Athletics

The Iowa State women’s cross country team opens the season as the No. 1-ranked program in the Midwest Region, the United State Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) announced this afternoon. The Cyclone men are ranked No. 2 in the Midwest, one spot higher than last year’s regional ranking.

The women’s squad is the five-time defending regional champion, having also won four consecutive conference crowns. The Cyclone women held the Midwest’s top ranking throughout the 2014 season, culminating in a NCAA Midwest Regional title.

All-American Crystal Nelson leads the way for the Cyclones, who return four of their top five finishers from last season’s Midwest Regional. Nelson, Erin Hooker and Perez Rotich all return as All-Midwest Region performers.

The Iowa State women are one of six Big-12 programs in the region, ranked ahead of No. 3 Oklahoma State, No. 7 Oklahoma, No.14 Kansas and No. 15 Kansas State.

The Cyclone men enter 2015 ranked No. 2 in the region behind the promise of young talent. The Cyclones return 2014 NCAA qualifier Dan Curts, who was the first Iowa State freshman to qualify for the NCAA Championships since 2008. The Ellsworth, Maine, native came on strong to close the 2014 campaign, finishing 10th at the Big 12 Championship prior to a fifth-place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional.

Also returning is sophomore Josef Andrews, who ran as ISU’s No. 2 in the season-opening Roy Griak Invitational before an Achilles injury prematurely ended a promising freshman campaign. Junior Christian DeLago was also an All-Midwest Region performer in 2014.

The Cyclones also added talent from the high school ranks, headlined by Thomas Pollard, who was named a three-time Gatorade Athlete of the Year in the state of Iowa while running for Gilbert High School. The freshman earned All-America honors twice at the Foot Locker National High School Cross Country Finals.

The men rank No. 2 among Big 12 programs in the region, sitting behind No. 1-ranked Oklahoma State and ahead of No. 6 Oklahoma and No. 11 Kansas.

The men’s and women’s teams open the 2015 season Friday at the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational in Iowa City, Iowa. Competition is slated to begin at 6:45 p.m. CT.

For more coverage of the Iowa State cross country and track & field programs, follow @CycloneTrackXC on twitter.

Kyle Kepler-Utah
©Jim Kirby

Coach Kepler, Taking Care of Business in Utah

Kyle Kepler-Utah ©Utah Athletics

Kyle Kepler-Utah
©Utah Athletics

Kyle Kepler was an outstanding prep runner at Webster City who went on to be an All Missouri Valley performer at UNI. Once his own running career was over, he began his coaching career.

Kyle Kepler is in his 11th year as the head coach of the Utah women’s cross country and track & field programs. Kepler is in his 17th year coaching at the NCAA Division I level. Prior to coming to Utah, Kepler served as Northern Iowa’s head men’s and women’s cross country coach and assistant track and field coach for two seasons. He was on staff at UNI for a total of seven years, serving as an assistant cross country coach for five years prior to being named head coach in 2003. Kepler was named the Missouri Valley Conference Men’s Cross Country Coach of the Year in 2003 after leading the Panthers to a MVC title. The Panthers won 12 MVC titles among cross country and indoor and outdoor track during his tenure with the Panthers. He coached nine All-Americans at UNI, and 15 athletes qualified for the NCAA Championships between track and cross country.

In addition to taking the Ute’s running programs to new heights, Kepler has laid out the welcome mat for some of America’s top distance runners and invited them to do some of their training in Salt Lake City.

Among the athletes who called the Utah campus “home” in preparation for the World Championships in Beijing, are American Record holder in the 3,000 meter steeplechase, Evan Jager, American record holder in the women’s 10,000, and 2008 Olympic bronze medalist, Shalane Flanagan, and recent World Championship bronze medalist in the 10,000, Emily Infeld.

These high level athletes love it in Salt Lake City. They can live nearby and run on dirt trails/roads at 7000-8,000 feet. Utah’s Beynon track is at 4800 feet which is better for their faster workouts.   Kepler and the University have developed a good reputation of being helpful to some of America’s best. The campus is easy to get to.   They live in Portland, Oregon and the SLC airport is only 35 min from Park City, Utah, which is where they live while training here.  The Utah campus is only about a 25 min drive from Park City.

Kiel Uhl-Roosevelt-ISU
©Golden Gopher Athletics

Cyclone’s Kiel Uhl to Be Inducted Into Griak Hall

Kiel Uhl-Roosevelt-ISU ©Golden Gopher Athletics

Kiel Uhl-Roosevelt-ISU
©Golden Gopher Athletics

The University of Minnesota will celebrate the 30th annual Roy Griak Invitational as part of Homecoming festivities on Saturday, Sept. 26 at Les Bolstad Golf Course in Falcon Heights, Minn.

As part of the celebration, Gopher Athletics has announced the formation of the Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame with eight inductees slated to be honored in the inaugural class. As the Griak Invitational approaches, GopherSports.com will highlight each of the honorees starting today with Des Moines Roosevelt High School/Iowa State University’s Kiel Uhl.
Des Moines, Iowa is a short trip down I-35 from Minneapolis and home to Kiel Uhl. But the awards stand at the Roy Griak Invitational became sort of a home-away-from-home for Uhl.

Uhl stands out as the most-decorated runner in the history of the prestigious meet. The former Des Moines Roosevelt High School standout found himself on the awards stand three times during his illustrious prep career and all four years while running for Iowa State. His seven appearances on the awards stand is a record that will likely go unmatched.

“What an honor,” said Uhl when learning of his selection into the 2015 class of the Roy Griak Invitational Hall of Fame. “The meet was always more than a cross country meet for me. My wife and family both have fond memories of the meet and make a reunion every year by going back and celebrating the meet.”

“Anyone who knows cross country knows of the Griak,” he added. “The organizers have always checked all the boxes and have created a very prestigious meet.”

Uhl finished 10th at the Griak as a high school sophomore in 2002 and was among five Roosevelt runners to appear on the awards stand as Roosevelt also captured the team title that season. The victors were led by Austin Williamson’s fourth-place finish as he covered the Les Bolstad course in a time of 15:49.6. Teammate Jon Thomas (16:08.3) placed eighth to also finish ahead of Uhl, who clocked in 16:12.4 in his first appearance on the course.

Yawusa Kinda (16:13.7) placed 11th and Jim Schwartz (16:91.6) ran his way to a 15th-place finish as Roosevelt won the championship with 43 points and easily out-distanced runner-up Hopkins (Minn.), which scored 104 points on the day. It was Roosevelt’s first appearance at the Griak Invitational since placing fourth in 1998.

Uhl slipped to a 12th-place finish the following year as Roosevelt became just the second team to win consecutive titles in the high school boys division. White Bear Lake (Minn.) was the first school to claim back-to-back titles when the school won in 1996 and 1997. Just like the previous season, Roosevelt was paced by the same two runners who finished ahead of Uhl one year earlier. Thomas (15:57.3) and Williamson (16:04.7) placed fifth and seventh, respectively, at the 2003 meet, while Uhl clocked in 16:15.6.

That trio helped Roosevelt to 81 points on the day. Fargo (N.D.) South High School placed second with 115 points, while Marshall (138) and Wayzata (190), a pair of Minnesota schools, placed third and fourth, respectively, in the final team standings. Shawnee Mission Northwest (Kan.), rounded out the top-five schools in 2003 after scoring 206 points on the day.

Uhl emerged as Griak champion in his final appearance on the course as a high schooler. He captured the 2004 individual championship after finishing in 15:31.3. It was the second-fastest winning time in the history of the high school portion of the meet. Former Duluth East High School standout Nic Mattack, who won a pair of Griak titles while competing for the Greyhounds, ran a 15:12 to capture the crown for the second time in 1996.

Thomas joined Uhl on the award stand for a third-straight season as he placed 12th in a time of 16:11.6, but Roosevelt could only muster 258 points for a sixth-place finish and found itself well behind team champion Liberty (Mo.) High School, which claimed the team championship with 100 points.

Uhl closed out his high school cross country career just weeks later by capturing the state title in Iowa. He placed sixth as a sophomore and was the runner-up at the state meet before winning it all in 2004.

There was little doubt that with all the success achieved by Uhl while competing for Roosevelt that he would become a hot commodity among college recruiters. He entertained offers from Kansas State and Minnesota before deciding to remain close to home and compete for Iowa State.

“I was always impressed with Corey Ihmels,” said Uhl of his decision to don the Cyclone uniform. Ihmels had taken over the ISU program following the retirement of longtime coach Bill Bergan and continued the success of the Cyclone program as one of the top running programs in the region.

Uhl continued his ownership of the Griak awards stand in his first season at ISU by placing 15th. He ran a time of 24:41.7 and was the lone ISU runner to find himself on the awards stand that day as the Cyclones finished 16th in the team standings after tallying 363 points. BYU captured the 2005 Griak team title with 117 points. The 15th-place individual showing and the 16th-place team finish were the lowest for any team Uhl competed on while running at the Griak Invitational.

He improved on his finish the following year by running a 24:35.2 and placing seventh overall. But, he once again found himself as the lone Cyclone on the awards stand as ISU could only muster 221 points to place fifth as a team at the 2006 edition of the popular meet.

Uhl turned in his best performance in 2007 as he finished fourth in the individual race after clocking in at 24:32.3 and finishing just over 28 seconds behind Northern Arizona’s Lopez Lomong, who won the championship in a time of 24:04.2. But, unlike his previous two collegiate seasons, he had familiar company on the awards stand. Teammates Hillary Bor (24:50.2) and Kevin Born (24:53.6) placed 12th and 17th, respectively, to help the Cyclones to a third-place team finish. Northern Arizona won the team title that season with 83 points, and Arizona State finished right behind with 88 points as both schools finished ahead of the Cyclones, who tallied 99 points on the day.

Bor and Uhl helped ISU to a second-place team finish in what would be the final appearance at the Griak Invitational for the former Roosevelt standout. Bor paced the Cyclones by placing eighth in a time of 24:21.9 and Uhl finished 10th after being clocked in 24:21.9 at the 2008 meet, while two other Cyclones, Guor Majak (24:29.3) and Rico Loy (24:53.0) placed 12th and 19th, respectively, as ISU finished in second place with 89 points, just 14 points behind team champion Adams State, which scored 75 points to claim the 2008 championship.

Uhl, who graduated in 2009 from Iowa State with a degree in architecture, is married to the former Lisa Koll, who also competed at Iowa State and had tremendous success of her own at the Griak Invitational. Koll placed seventh at the Griak as a freshman in 2006 after running a 21:38.5 and found herself on the awards stand two other times in her career. She placed second in 2007 after finishing in 21:09.0 and matched that performance in her final season in 2009 with a time of 21:12.7