The Iowa State men’s cross-country team is looking to continue its season-long success when it travels to Iowa City for the NCAA Midwest Regional meet Friday.
The men are coming off of a runner-up finish at the Big 12 Championship, where three Iowa State runners finished in the top 10.
Confidence among the entire team has increased since the team's performance at the meet.
“Finishing runner-up is always a positive result,” said assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury. “That finish, along with our other great finishes, has been a validation to the training and hard work our team puts in.”
Efficiency has been the strategy this season and will continue to be the focus for the regional meet. It will be even more important because the regional meet is a 10-kilometer race, unlike the 8Ks throughout the season. That extra two kilometers can wear on a runner, especially when competing against a larger field of teams.
The regional meet will feature 33 men’s teams, including Big 12 Champion Oklahoma State.
“More teams will result in more separation throughout the race,” Sudbury said. “The results should be much more diverse compared to the other meets we’ve run in.”
One benefit the Cyclones might have going into the meet is how well they’ve run as a pack. So far they’ve had good split times running together, and if they can continue to finish as a group, they should have a good chance to finish well.
The pressure has never been greater this season, as the chance to qualify for nationals will be determined by the results of the regional meet as well.
If Iowa State finishes as one the top two teams, It will get an automatic bid to nationals. If not, the team must hope to finish inside the top six spots to be in a position to be picked for an at-large spot.
“Our guys all have high runner IQs, and they’re ready to prove themselves,” Sudbury said. “It’s something coach Smith and I take pride in.”
Senior transfer Kevyn Hoyos will most likely be looked upon to lead the Cyclones to nationals. He came to Iowa State with one sole purpose: to win a national championship. He doesn’t need to be told twice what needs to happen to get his team there, and he will get the job done, Sudbury said.
One added benefit of the meet for Iowa State is its proximity to home; Iowa City is only two hours away from Ames. Fans will get a chance to see the Cyclones compete on a big stage, with an even bigger stage looming in their minds.
“I’m sure we will have some more fans and supporters out with us,” Sudbury said. “It’s always a positive when you can get more support.”