The Iowa State cross country squads will finish out their seasons at the Big 12 Championship in Lawrence, Kansas, on Friday, looking to add to an already established Big 12 trophy case.
Through COVID-19 precautions and a shorter schedule, both the men's and women's teams have made it to the meet where they will go up against the best in the conference and some of the best in the nation.
This season, both the men's and women's teams have been dominant right from the start. The season began at the Bob Timmons Classic, where both teams took home first place honors in September.
In the beginning of October, the men took second and the women took first place at the Cowboy Jamboree.
“I’m really excited for both the men's and women's programs to have a chance to make a run for the Big 12 Championship," Assistant Coach Jeremy Sudbury said. "If you look at our history, something that we really focus on is trying to be conference champions so any time we have a chance to race and have that on the line is really exciting for the program."
For the men's program, schools like Oklahoma State and Texas will be the ones to beat if Iowa State wants to win another Big 12 Championship.
A men's runner for the Cyclones, Festus Lagat, has his plans for the upcoming meet, a meet that could be his last Big 12 Championship race.
“For me, it's my last time running at the Big 12s so I’m just excited to run and work as a team,” Lagat said.
For the women, Oklahoma State continues to be a threat, however the Cyclones have prepared for this meet and are using their steady tradition of winning to boost confidence.
“We have the tradition that we want to uphold, we won two years ago when I just got here and we got fourth last year," Head Coach Amy Rudolph said. "We want to get the trophy back to Ames this year."
Rudolph said the history inspires the runners to continue to try and reach and pass the levels of excellence that have been set in the past.
“I’ve been on one Big 12 Championship team where we won Big 12s in the past," senior Larkin Chapman said. "The Championship was two years ago and that was just one of the best days I’ve had as an athlete here at Iowa State. It is such a special thing to win as a team because it’s a team effort."
The team will be running with a strategy in mind of uplifting teammates and keeping everyone together.
“We run as a pack, the two through seven runners on our team are all pretty close timewise," Chapman said. "We make sure that we are staying together and getting all of us through to that finish line is so important."
The Big 12 Championship will be held Friday morning at Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kansas. The women will race at 10 a.m. and the men will start at 11 a.m.