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Men's cross-country assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury discusses the importance of the Bulldog 4K Classic to the team's developmental runners. The Bulldog 4K Classic will take place on Aug. 30 in Des Moines.

The Cyclone men’s cross country team heads up north to Minneapolis this weekend to compete in the Roy Griak Invitational. Though the men ran in the Hawkeye Invitational in early September, this will be their first true test of the season.

“It’s going to be a buzzsaw meet,” said assistant coach Jeremy Sudbury. “There will be 10 or so teams that are either nationally ranked or have received votes.”

Amongst the Cyclones' roster, up to eight of the men will be officially competing for Iowa State. Sudbury said that there will most likely be others running as well, they just won’t count for official scoring purposes.

Redshirt sophomore Dan Curts will be one of the runners in contention this weekend. Curts had a dominant freshman year by finishing as the top freshman in the Big 12 Conference meet and was one of two Cyclones to receive all Big 12 recognition.

“Overall I’m feeling good and ready to bring some energy this weekend,” Curts said. “It’ll be a good experience to run with the new guys and see how they can compete.”

Curts will be a potential front-runner for the men’s team as well as looked up to from the first years.

“The real goal this year is to focus on team performance,” Curts said. “We have some specific goals in mind this year that we want to accomplish, but we have to do it as a team.”

This meet will give coaches a chance to see all the pieces coming together and see that team aspect come into fruition.

“We’ve had some nice practices, and seen some good development out of our young guys,” Sudbury said. “Now it’s time to see everyone’s hard work pay off.”

One unavoidable obstacle this weekend could be the weather. Currently there is a chance of rain on Saturday, which would result in a muddy course, and ultimately a tougher race.

Sudbury won’t select someone to compete who isn’t ready for the challenges that might lie ahead this weekend.

“Being a cross country athlete means that you’re ready for anything,” Curts said.

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