The men’s cross-country team will travel to Lubbock, Texas, for the Big 12 Championship meet Saturday.
Eight other teams will compete, including Oklahoma, which both head coach Martin Smith and assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury have ties to. Smith previously coached Oklahoma, and Sudbury was a Sooner himself before they brought their talents to Iowa State.
The Cyclones will face a stiff competition with Oklahoma State, the favorite to win the meet. The Cowboys have won eight consecutive Big 12 Championships and enter this weekend ranked ninth in the nation, according to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association. The Cyclones aren’t far behind, though, coming in ranked No. 13 in the nation.
The men are coming off of a tough meet in Madison, Wisconsin, a couple of weeks ago. They finished eighth among 19 nationally-ranked teams. Pairing the competition with the difficulty of the course in Wisconsin made it the toughest meet of the season so far for the Cyclones.
The mindset remains the same going into this weekend as if it were just another meet.
“Our goal is to continue building upon our first two meets and continue to show consistency,” Sudbury wrote in an email. “We’re trying to maximize our team performance and continue to focus on what we can control in the meet.”
The Big 12 meet is more than just a placement within the conference. A good result could also earn points toward nationals. Sudbury wrote that if the Cyclones finish in the top two, the team will gain one or two more points to add to their total accumulated over the season.
The course is located on Texas Tech's golf course, which is different than the other two meets.
"It appears that their course is currently in great shape," Sudbury wrote. "Based on the times from the 2007 Big 12 Championships held at the same venue, the course seems to run fair and may prove more challenging than people suspect."
This will be the last meet for the Cyclones before the regional meet in November.