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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, 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

Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake
©Doug Wells

Drake Alum Brogan Austin, Still Wining Awards

Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake ©Doug Wells

Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake
©Doug Wells

Drake University’s Brogan Austin (Boone, Iowa) has been named one of four recipients of a Missouri Valley Conference postgraduate scholarship, MVC Commissioner Doug Elgin announced Wednesday, June 10.

Courtesy Bulldog Athletics

The Missouri Valley Conference Faculty Athletics Representatives Committee voted to award postgraduate scholarships to the four student-athletes, due to their exemplary academic and athletic performances. Each will receive a $5,000 postgraduate scholarship from the conference.

Austin graduated in May from Drake with Magna Cum Laude honors, compiling a 3.76 grade point average while majoring in mathematics with a leadership development minor. This past fall Austin became the first Bulldog to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 2004 after placing sixth at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship.

Austin also earned the MVC’s Elite 18 Award twice in cross country (2012, 2014), while earning a fourth-place finish on the course this past fall. He was a 2014 Capital One CoSIDA Academic All-America third-team pick in 2014. At the league’s 2014 Indoor Track & Field Championship, he was honored as co-Most Valuable Athlete after winning his third consecutive 5,000-meter conference title in an indoor school record time of 13:59.71 followed by a 3,000-meter title.

In his final MVC Championship last month, he was the runner-up in the 10,000 meters and fifth in the 5,000 meters.

Joining Austin in receiving the MVC postgraduate scholarship was Brooke Brown of UNI (women’s basketball); Kalyn Harker of Southern Illinois (softball); and Nick Schroeder of Evansville (men’s soccer).

To be eligible for consideration, recipients must have achieved a cumulative grade-point average of at least 3.40, participated with distinction in a Missouri Valley Conference championship sport for at least two seasons at the nominating institution and must graduate from their institutions within 18 months following selection at the spring meetings of the Faculty Athletics Representative Committee.

Also, the recipients must be accepted for postgraduate studies at an institution of higher learning at the time of receipt of the scholarship. And, the recipients must have completed eligibility for participation in intercollegiate athletics in the academic year in which nominated.

Coach Dave Paulsen
©Panthers Athletics

Coach Paulsen Set to Lead Panthers into XC Season

Coach Dave Paulsen ©Panther Athletics

Coach Dave Paulsen
©Panther Athletics

University of Northern Iowa Director of Athletics Troy Dannen has named Dave Paulsen as Interim Cross Country/Track and Field Head Coach.

Courtesy Panthers Athletics

“Dave has been a part of the Panther program as a student-athlete and a member of two different coaching staffs,” Dannen said. “He has a tremendous understanding of the history of our program and the needs of our student-athletes as our program advances forward. Our student-athletes were strong in their support of Dave’s candidacy over the past few days. He has positively influenced lives both on and off the track as an assistant coach and I’m pleased he is willing to expand that influence as our interim head coach.”

Paulsen will be entering his eighth year on the UNI cross country/track and field coaching staff this fall. Paulsen has planned, organized and managed all areas of UNI’s men’s and women’s cross country programs since joining the staff in August 2008. As a member of the UNI coaching staff, he has seen the Panthers set 19 school records, crown 17 Missouri Valley Conference champions, send 14 NCAA national qualifiers to the championship meet and has helped the Panthers net three NCAA All-America honors.

“I would like to thank Troy Dannen for the opportunity to lead the Panther cross country and track and field programs,” Paulsen said. “UNI has a rich tradition that I have been fortunate to be a part of as both a student-athlete and coach. We have a terrific coaching staff in place that will work tirelessly to build the program in a positive direction.”

Paulsen’s ties run deep in the Cedar Valley as he earned both his bachelor’s (political science) and master’s (exercise science) from UNI. Paulsen earned All-America honors in 2002 and was a two-time NCAA national qualifier (2002, 2003) for the UNI track & field program.

Paulsen and his wife, Dee, reside in Dike, with their son, Caleb, and daughters, Chloe and Kadee.

In addition to Paulsen’s hire as interim coach, it was announced that Trey Brokaw has joined the staff as a full-time assistant coach. Brokaw had served as a volunteer assistant coach over the past two seasons. In his two years at UNI, Brokaw has had great success working with athletes ranging from the 400 meters to the 10,000 meters on the track, as well as both cross country programs in the fall.

Brokaw graduated from Emporia State University in 2013 with a Bachelor’s Degree of Science in Education. Currently he is working towards a Master’s Degree in Exercise Science from the University of Northern Iowa.

Dannen indicated a full search for a permanent head coach will commence following the conclusion of the 2016 outdoor track and field season.

Iowa State Cyclones
©Michael Scott

Cyclones Can’t Wait For the Season’s Start

Iowa State Cyclones ©Michael Scott

Iowa State Cyclones
©Michael Scott

Iowa State director of track and field and cross country Martin Smith announced the Cyclones’ schedule for the 2015 cross country season on Tuesday. The men have a similar slate to 2014, with three regular-season meets, while the women’s team will compete five times before the postseason.

The Cyclones open up the season in Iowa City at the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational on Sept. 4. The meet, hosted by Iowa, will be held at Ashton Cross Country Course.

Iowa State will then be in Minneapolis, Minn. for back-to-back meets, with the women running in the Oz Memorial on Sept. 11. It will be the first time an Iowa State squad has competed at the meet, which is named after longtime Drake head coach Gary Osborn, who passed away in 2000. Both Cyclone squads will be back in Minneapolis on Sept. 26 as the competition elevates at the Roy Griak Invitational.

The women’s team will then travel to Louisville, Ky. to compete in the Greater Louisville Classic on Oct. 3. The meet will give the Cyclones a chance to run at E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, the site of the 2015 NCAA Championship. The Cyclone men and women will once again close the regular season in Madison, Wisc. at the Wisconsin Adidas Invitational on Oct. 16.

Postseason action will begin on Oct. 31 in Stillwater, Okla., where the Cyclones will compete at the 2015 Big 12 Championship. The women’s team will be chasing their fifth-consecutive conference title. The NCAA Midwest Regional, held on Nov. 13, marks the NCAA qualifier on both the individual and team levels. The regional meet will be held in Lawrence, Kan.

The Cyclones will look to wrap up the year back in Louisville, Ky. at the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships. The national meet will take place Nov. 21 at the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park.

©Darren Miller

Hawks Set to Open 2015 XC Campaign at Home

©Darren Miller

©Darren Miller

The University of Iowa cross country program opens the season at home Friday, Sept. 4, hosting the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational. The UI athletics department released the complete 2015 schedule Friday.

Courtesy Hawkeye Athletics 

The Hawkeyes host Iowa State, Northern Iowa, and Illinois State at the Ashton Cross Country Course at 6 p.m. (CT). The women run 3,000 meters at 6 p.m., and the men’s 6,000-meter race begins at 6:30 p.m.

The Hawkeyes’ remaining regular season schedule includes the Illinois State Invitational (Sept. 11), the Notre Dame Invitational (Oct. 2), and the Bradley Pink Classic (Oct.16).

The postseason begins Nov. 1 at the Big Ten Championships in Evanston, Illinois. The NCAA Midwest Regional is Nov. 13 in Lawrence, Kansas, and the NCAA Championships are Nov. 21 in Louisville, Kentucky.

Admission to the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational, Iowa’s only home meet, is free for all ages.

Alex Wilson-Mt. Vernon Lisbon-UNI
©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays Rank 5th in Worldwide Rankings

Drake Relays ©Jim Kirby

Drake Relays
©Jim Kirby

In the 2015 competition scoring of multi-day track and field events around the world, the Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee earned an impressive fifth place ranking. The event garnered the highest rank for an invitational event as the top four were all championship meets.

Courtesy Bulldog Athletics

The ranking is based on a detailed system that includes the following factors:

Result Score: The actual results achieved in the competition
Participation Score: The level of the participating athletes
WR Bonus: World Records achieved in the competition
Points are earned if an athlete is an Olympic or World Champion medalist, is a world record holder or is world ranked in their event. This year’s Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee included six indoor or outdoor world record holders, 21 Olympic medalists and 38 athletes ranked in the top 10 in the world their event.

The top five track and field events were:

1. USA Outdoor Championship – Eugene, OR 180,047
2. Toronto Pan American Games – Canada 174,571
3. Cheboksary European Team Championships – Russia 171,469
4. NCAA Div. I Championship – Eugene, OR 169,732
5. Drake Relays presented by Hy-Vee – Des Moines, IA 167,686

Iowa State Cyclones  ISU

The Iowa St. Cyclones, Our Newest Sponsor!

Iowa State Cyclones  ISUWe would like to welcome the Iowa State Cyclones as one of our major sponsors.  We are so grateful to Mr. Pollard, Coach Smith and the entire athletic department for their support of our project!

Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake
©Doug Wells

Bulldogs, Fast and Smart

Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake ©Doug Wells

Brogan Austin-Boone-Drake
©Doug Wells

The Drake University men’s and women’s track and field teams have been named All-Academic Teams by the United States Track & Field And Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). Individually, three Bulldogs were named All-Academic by the organization.

To earn All-Academic Team honors, teams must post a cumulative GPA of 3.00 or higher. Drake’s women’s team posted a team GPA of 3.54, the second-highest in the Missouri Valley Conference and the 12th best in the nation. The men’s squad owned a 3.23 GPA to earn the honor.

Brogan Austin (Boone, Iowa), Kayla Bell (Bolingbrook, Ill.) and Emma Huston (Des Moines, Iowa) also earned All-Academic honors from the USTFCCCA. To be named All-Academic, a student-athlete must have compiled a cumulative grade point average of 3.25 and have met at least one of the following athletic standards: For the indoor season, a student-athlete must have finished the regular season ranked in the national top 96 in an individual event or ranked in the national top 48 (collective listing) in a relay event on the official NCAA POP list provided by

For the outdoor season, a student-athlete must have participated in any round of the NCAA Division I Championships.

All three qualified for the NCAA West Region Preliminary round in addition to achieving the necessary GPA. Austin and Huston were also winners of the MVC Elite 18 Award, given to the student-athlete with the highest GPA competing at an MVC championship event, during the academic year.