The Iowa State men’s cross country team had high hopes coming into the National Championship meet in Terre Haute, Indiana, on Saturday. Those high hopes weren't let down, as the Cyclones finished in 16th at Nationals in a field of more than 30 teams.
On paper, a 16th place finish doesn’t sound the best, but the result times show how close and compact the finish actually was. Only 21 points separated the Cyclones from finishing in 12th.
“When you look at the times they’re so close it literally comes down to mere footsteps between runners,” assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury said. “To know we were that close to finishing four spots higher is motivation for the future.”
Freshman Thomas Pollard led the way for the Cyclones, finishing in 45th place with a time of 30:30.6. Pollard was also only the third freshman to cross the finish line on Saturday. Senior transfer Kevyn Hoyos followed shortly after with a time of 30:35.2 putting him in 58th place overall.
“Considering that this was Hoyos’ only chance at running at Nationals he did very well,” Sudbury said. “He executed it well and handled it like a pro.”
Hoyos was far back in the field around the 3-kilometer mark, but then he made his move. He stayed strong passing a good portion of the field, almost linking up with Pollard down the stretch.
The only Cyclone that had previous experience on the course was Daniel Curts, a sophomore.
Two years ago Curts qualified as an individual for Nationals as a true freshman. Then he finished around 200th place. Today Curts finished in 99th place, much better than his first experience.
“Having run the course before really helped him out,” Sudbury said. “This finish really helped him as well, he didn’t start the season off well, so seeing him finish strong is hope for the future.”
Following the race both Sudbury and head coach Martin Smith addressed the team. Smith was very excited and motivated for the future and the potential the team has next season.
He mentioned that he was proud of how they ran, staying tough despite the conditions and atmosphere, said Sudbury. He also mentioned how this should motivate them to succeed next year.
Looking ahead to next season only one runner, Hoyos, will be departing. The rest of the team will come back with this strong season under its belt, in addition to a few newcomers.
“It’s a great time to both a fan and an athlete for Iowa State cross country,” Sudbury said.