The Iowa State men and women’s cross country teams' impressive season is coming to a close this Saturday on Nov. 17, while they travel to Madison, Wisconsin, for the NCAA Championship.
After both the men and women’s cross country team finished in first place at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship last week, the Cyclones are looking to maintain their momentum this week and to place in the top 10 at the NCAA Championships.
Head coach of the women’s cross country team Amy Rudolph has recently been named the women’s Midwest Region Coach of the Year. Rudolph is looking forward to the NCAA Championships this weekend and is excited to see what the team can do.
“It’s an honor to be named the women’s Midwest Region Coach of the Year," Rudolph said. "I give this award to the girls, they have put in the hard work and have trusted the process this whole year."
After being named Midwest Region Coach of the Year, there is an even bigger target on Rudolph’s back, along with the Cyclones as well.
“I knew taking this job there would be pressure, I try and block out the noise," Rudolph said. "The expectations are to take this program to the next level.
"I know every year will not be like this, but we are trying to build the team culture here, we want to be a top ten team in the nation."
Since the integration of coach Rudolph, the women have been on a hot streak coming in first place four times out of the five races this season. The transition between the changing of coaches has been nothing but seamless, the team is at a great place mentally and physically. Rudolph often draws on her own experience from her college career at Providence College along with her 13-year professional career.
Rudolph is very pleased with how the season has gone and is excited to wrap up the season with one last race on Saturday, November 17.
“At this point of the season, some people are ready for the season to be over and are looking off to next year already, but these girls are different," Rudolph said. "The girls are staying strong along with having positive attitudes every day at practice, it's remarkable to come in every day and coach these fine women.
"The beauty of this team is that we have depth if someone has a bad day someone else steps up. Every week we have a superhero who shows up for us."
Rudolph keeps the practices interesting and tries to learn the strengths and weakness of every runner. Rudolph values the relationships she has with every runner and continues to have conversations about life and life as a student-athlete.
Sophomore Cailie Logue was recently named Women’s Midwest Athlete of the Year along with being named Newcomer of the Year.
“Being named Women’s Midwest Athlete of the Year and being newcomer of the year is a huge honor because so many other girls on this team are qualified for these awards, I’m very lucky”, Logue said.
Since Logue has joined the cross country program at Iowa State the culture has changed, and she said it has become a winning atmosphere. Logue continues to put herself in a good position during races and in the program.
“Being a part of this program is very special to me,” Logue said. "Looking back I know how special it will be with all the memories I have made, it was the best decision to come to Iowa State and join the cross country program."
Going into the races Logue is nervous for the meets but also excited and filled with adrenaline. Logue has gotten used to running and is confident in her ability to run well due to putting in the hard work in the previous weeks to showcase her talents in the races. She continues to think about all of the people who have helped her on her path of becoming one of the best women cross country runners in the nation.
“I try and think of all the people that have helped me throughout my career, and that I’m running for something bigger than myself, which is this team,” Logue said. “The opportunity to run for Iowa State is amazing, I get to showcase my running ability and show people the hard work I put into every week.”
Logue praised coach Rudolph throughout the year and has even contributed her success to coach Rudolph. Coach Rudolph is committed to seeing this team succeed every week in and out of the sport such as academically.
“Coach Rudolph has helped us tremendously, not only in training, but she mentally prepares us as well,” Logue said. "Rudolph does quotes of the week every week to help us with our attitudes and encourages us to do well every week. I’ve never had a coach so committed to their players like this before.”
The No. 6 Iowa State men’s cross country team defended its NCAA Midwest Regional title on Friday, November 9th. The Cyclone men were dominant, scoring 38 total team points, which was 64 points better than second-place Bradley, who hosted the event.
Assistant coach of the men’s cross country team Jeremy Sudbury has been with Iowa State for six years now under head coach Martin Smith and is hoping to finish the season on the podium during the NCAA Championships.
In total, the Cyclones placed six runners on the All-Region medal stand.
“This shows how much depth we have as a team,” Sudbury said. "This shows how great our recruiting team is here, we are trying to build something great here. Having six guys on the stand is something very special.”
Last year the men’s team won the Big 12s against a No. 7 opponent and ever since there have been huge expectations of this team. The men’s team does have a target on their back but the team still believes they are counted out and are underdogs.
“The guys have done a good job at ignoring all the hype coming into the new season, we have to act like we have been here before,” Sudbury said. "This week will be the ultimate challenge and will determine what kind of team we are.”
The strategy for this week is to keep the same formula. The team does not want to change anything at all and for good reason, there has been much success throughout the year.
“We have a lot of depth towards the back and we sort of slingshot the top three guys in the race halfway through. We want to close the gap early and we want to show off our talents at the NCAA Championships," Sudbury said.
One of the top runners on the men’s cyclones cross country team is junior, Andrew Jordan who had an impressive race during the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship. Jordan finished in 6th place with a time of 31:03.4.
Jordan chose Iowa State due to the championship pedigree and enjoyed talking to coach Smith and the team. Iowa State is trying to build a championship team and with Jordan, it might be possible.
“Finishing in 6th place during the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship was a great improvement for me,” Jordan said. Going from 8k to 10k was a challenge, but were a 10k team so I rose to the occasion.”
During the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship Jordan and Curts were neck and neck throughout the whole race but Jordan got the edge towards the end.
“Every race we see each other it feels like, this is not by design,” Jordan said. "It’s always good to see him in races, he makes me better."
Jordan reflected on this season and explained that it was a great learning season, mentally and physically.
“I try and improve in every race, and hopefully the best one is the last one,” Jordan said.
Updates from the NCAA Championships will be posted on the Iowa State cross country page @CycloneTrack&XC.