The Iowa State cross country program began the 2019 postseason on a historic note Saturday morning in Waco, Texas.
The Cyclone men's and women's squads squared off against the Big 12's best in the annual conference meet, held this year at the Cottonwood Creek Golf Course at Baylor University. Both Iowa State teams entered the meet as two-time defending conference champions.
First up was the men's 8k race, with all eyes on senior All-American Edwin Kurgat as he looked to defend last year's titles won in Ames. Through the first 3,000 meters, the Cyclones played it a bit conservative, crossing the first checkpoint in third place behind Oklahoma State and Texas.
The race slowly began to develop as a battle between Kurgat and sophomore Isai Rodriguez of Oklahoma State. The pair broke away from the lead pack at around the halfway mark and battled it out down the stretch.
Despite some initial attempts by Rodriguez to surge forward, it was Kurgat who pulled a last-gasp sprint down the finish to cross the line ahead of the Oklahoma State runner. The Eldoret, Kenya, native became the first Cyclone runner since Ian Robinson in 1994 to repeat as conference champion with a time of 23:36.3
Behind Kurgat, Iowa State's eight other runners finished strong to give the Cyclones their third straight Big 12 Conference Championship. Boise State transfer Addison Dehaven gave the Cyclones some much needed points in sixth.
The trio of Chad Johnson, Milo Greder and David Too finishing in eighth, ninth and 10th respectively. Iowa State was rounded out in the scoring places by juniors Mitchell Day and Thomas Pollard in 11th and 15th respectively. The Cyclones became the third team in the history of the Big 12 meet to have seven runners in the top 15. Only Colorado in 1999 and Oklahoma State in 2014 have achieved the same feat.
Next up was the women's 6k championship, with junior Cailie Logue anchoring the Cyclones once again. Like Kurgat, Logue entered the race as defending conference champion after winning the title in Ames last year.
Once the gun went off, the Cyclones began the race in the middle of the pack, sitting in fourth place going through the halfway mark. Much like the men's race, the battle turned into a contest between defending champion Logue and another Oklahoma State athlete in fellow junior Taylor Somers.
The pair began to separate from the lead pack and at the 5k mark were neck-and-neck for the individual crown. Over the last 1,000 meters is where Logue began to show her big race experience, constantly keeping a one step lead ahead of Somers.
Down the last straightaway, Logue tried to break away for home, but Somers countered and almost passed the Cyclone runner at the finish. It was Logue, however, who edged out her opponent, collapsing at the line to retain her Big 12 title. She became the first Cyclone women's runner in 41 years to repeat as conference champion with a time of 20:08.2.
Behind Logue, the rest of the Cyclone lineup finished strong to give the Cyclones a solid fourth-place finish in the team standings. Senior Abby Caldwell was the next best finisher, crossing the line in the eighth spot. The Waverly, Iowa, native's best finish this season was the individual crown at the Hawkeye Invitational back in September.
Rounding out Iowa State's scoring roster were freshman Madelynn Hill in 18th place and junior Larkin Chapman not far behind in 22nd. Freshman Dana Feyen placed 31st, while the tail end was freshman Janette Schraft and juniors Karly Ackley and Gwynne Wright, who finished in 38th, 59th and 68th respectively. The Cyclones amassed a total of 77 points behind West Virginia, Texas and team champions Oklahoma State.
The Cyclone men's and women's squads will have two weeks of rest before their next test of the season. They will travel down to Stillwater, Oklahoma, to defend their NCAA Midwest Regional championships on Nov. 15.
Men's Individual Results:
1. Edwin Kurgat (Sr.): 23:36.3
6. Addison Dehaven (Sr.): 23:55.4
8. Chad Johnson (So.): 23:58.1
9. Milo Greder (Jr.): 24:00.5
10. David Too (Sr.): 24:03.4
11. Mitchell Day (Jr.): 24:05.3
15. Thomas Pollard (Jr.): 24:09.5
35. Jeffrey Pedersen (Redshirt Fr.): 25:00.7
51. Jared Schuckman (Redshirt Fr.): 25:34.9
Men's Overall Team Standings:
1. Iowa State- 34 Pts.
2. Oklahoma State- 58 Pts.
3. Texas- 72 Pts.
4. Kansas- 92 Pts.
5. Texas Tech- 147 Pts.
6. Kansas State- 150 Pts.
7. Baylor- 213 Pts.
8. Oklahoma- 221 Pts.
9. TCU- 287 Pts.
Women's Individual Results:
1. Cailie Logue (Jr.): 20:08.2
8. Abby Caldwell (Sr.): 20:52.6
18. Madelynn Hill (Fr.): 21:19.7
22. Larkin Chapman (Jr.): 21:32.7
31. Dana Feyen (Fr.): 21:44.2
38. Janette Schraft (Fr.): 21:59.9
59. Karly Ackley (Jr.): 22:49.8
68. Gwynne Wright (Jr.): 23:12.0
Women's Overall Team Standings:
1. Oklahoma State- 52 Pts.
2. Texas- 54 Pts.
3. West Virginia- 56 Pts.
4. Iowa State- 77 Pts.
5. Texas Tech- 155 Pts.
6. Kansas- 167 Pts.
7. Baylor- 198 Pts.
8. Kansas State- 214 Pts.
9. Oklahoma- 275 Pts.
10. TCU- 297 Pts.