All the news from Division I Mens and Womens Track.

Uni Men Cross Country 2015
©Panther Athletics

Panthers Run Well at the Woody Greeno

Uni Men Cross Country 2015 ©Panther Athletics

Uni Men Cross Country 2015
©Panther Athletics

The University of Northern Iowa cross country program competed at the Woody Greeno/Nebraska Invitational September 19, with the men finishing in third place and the women placing fourth as a team.

Courtesy Panther Athletics

Kelsey Kirchoff led the Panther women for the second meet in a row, scoring a top-10 finish in the 6,000 meter race. She finished with a time of 22:35.90 in sixth place overall, beating her time from last season by over 30 seconds.

Hanna Martin notched an 18th place finish with a time of 23:13, improving on her course time by over a minute. Coming in third for the Panthers was Callie Matthews, grabbing 20th place overall with a time of 23:15.60. Brette Correy rounded out UNI’s top-30 finishers, placing 28th overall with a time of 23:23.80.

On the men’s side, Trai Bunch was UNI’s first finisher, earning a 21st place finish and a time of 26:06.30. Sophomore Bailey Wetherell turned in a strong performance, finishing second for the Panthers with a time of 26:28.30, beating his course-best by two minutes.

Shane Kirchoff and Ben Fick came in third and fourth for UNI’s top finishers, both running course personal records. Kirchoff finished with a time of 26:36.80 while Fick came across the line in a time of 26:38.80.

The Panthers will return to action on Oct. 2 when they compete at the Notre Dame Invitational in South Bend, Ind. The meet is set to start at 1 p.m. CT.

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Missouri
©Jim Kirby

Schweizer and Mizzou Dominate Field at Forest Park

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Missouri ©Jim Kirby

Karissa Schweizer-Dowling-Missouri
©Jim Kirby

A pair of team wins highlighted the second weekend of competition for the men and women of Mizzou Cross Country, as they dominated the field at the Forest Park XC Festival in St. Louis on Friday (September 11). Led by a sophomore-junior duo on both sides, both teams placed their top five scorers within the top 12 of the field in the first full-team competition of the season.

“I’m really proud of both teams. It was exactly what we were looking for – a nice stepping-stone meet to get ready for the main part of the season,” Head Coach Marc Burns, currently in his second year with the Tigers, said. “It was exciting for them to compete well and represent Mizzou at the front of the race on home turf here in Missouri. We don’t get a chance to compete in-state very often, so it’s really important for us to race well when we do.”

The women kicked off the afternoon’s events at Forest Park with a strong 1-2 punch from sophomore Karissa Schweizer and junior Kaitlyn Fischer. This was the season debut for the pair, who highlight the Tigers’ roster as the two returning NCAA Championships qualifiers. Leading the field from start to finish, they crossed the line side-by-side in 18:17.

“The ladies executed the game plan perfectly. I was excited to see Kaitlyn and Karissa out there leading the way, I thought they set the tone for the day and looked really good,” Burns said. “Kelli Jackson looked strong, making a big step up from last week. Teylar Adelsberger, Sam Garrett, Nicole Mello, and Ellen Atkinson are really operating at a new level from where they were a year ago. When we get Kate Smith and Jamie Kempfer back in the line-up, that’s going to give us a lot of depth, it’s going to be really exciting to see what this group does.”

Jackson has had a strong start to her Tiger career, crossing second for the black and gold last weekend during her collegiate debut at the Illini Challenge. She dropped a few seconds off of that time on Friday, navigating the 5000m course in 18:29 for third in the DI field.

Rounding out the women’s top five was Adelsberger and Garrett, who crossed in seventh and 11th, respectively.

This meet was a unique one for the men’s team, who bumped down from their usual 8000m to a 5000m course. They had no problem handling the transition, though, putting their top five all within the top ten of the field. Leading the way was junior Jordan Cook and sophomore Marc Dubrick, who finished side-by-side in second and third overall in 15:41.

“I thought the men followed the game plan really well,” Burns said. “They established the pack up front early, which is what we wanted to do. We are definitely ready for the 8k coming in two weeks. I think the guys are looking forward to the longer grind where they can really go to work and use the strength that we’ve built up over the summer and early-season training.”

Sophomore Evan Schulte was next across the line in 15:43 (fourth), followed closely by Sheldon Keence in 15:48 (seventh). Junior Ian McGinn closed out the scorers for the Tigers in eighth overall (15:55).

The Tigers will take the next two weeks to focus on training before hitting the road once again, traveling to College Station, Tx., for the September 26th Texas A&M Invitational. For the latest on Mizzou Cross Country, stay tuned to MUTigers.com and follow the team on Twitter @MIZ_TrackField.

WOMEN’S RESULTS
Team – 1st // 17 points
1. Karissa Schweizer, 18:17 // 2. Kaitlyn Fischer, 18:17 // 3. Kelli Jackson, 18:29 // 7. Teylar Adelsberger, 18:37 // 11. Sam Garrett, 19:06 // 12. Nicole Mello, 19:10 // 14. Ellyn Atkinson, 19:17 // 18. Elly DeTurris, 19:29 // 20. Hannah Thomas, 19:36 // 21. Emmie Hahn, 19:40 // 25. Valeska Halamicek, 19:49 // 27. Carolyn White, 19:52 // 31. Kayla Friesen, 20:05 // 36. Bailey Hession, 20:20 // 42. Bianca Mello, 20:43

MEN’S RESULTS
Team – 1st // 17 points
2. Jordan Cook, 15:41 // 3. Marc Dubrick, 15:41 // 4. Evan Schulte, 15:43 // 7. Sheldon Keence, 15:48 // 8. Ian McGinn, 15:55 // 18. Chandler Dye, 16:11 // 19. Ben Goodman, 16:16 // 20. Luca Russo, 16:16 // 22. Brian Hernan, 16:21 // 25. Cain Winebrenner, 16:28 // 27. Pat Kearns, 16:32 // 28. Billy Leighton, 16:43 // 29. Tim Johnson, 16:52 // 30. Mark Sheridan, 16:56

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.