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Iowa State's Edwin Kurgat runs at the front of the pack at the Big 12 Cross Country Championship on Friday in Ames. Kurgat took first place in the men's race. 

The Iowa State Cyclones' men's cross country team opened their season Saturday morning with a convincing third-place team finish at the annual John McNichols Invitational at the Lavern Gibson Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana, the site of this year's NCAA Championships on Nov. 23rd.

The No. 5-ranked Cyclones were led by senior Edwin Kurgat, who paced his way to a first-place individual finish by four seconds to Stanford junior Thomas Ratcliffe in a tight fight to the line. The Cyclones faced solid competition in Terre Haute, including four of the current Top-25 teams in the polls: No. 7 Stanford, No. 16 Indiana, No. 24 Purdue and No. 1 Northern Arizona, the defending national champions, who also secured the top notch in Saturday's team standings.

Besides Kurgat, the rest of the Cyclones' runners all ran to top-20 finishes in the field of more than 130 runners. Leading the way were transfers Addison Dehaven and Mitchell Day, who both made their Iowa State debuts Saturday, finishing 11th and 15th respectively. The Cyclones rounded out their lineup with a trio of pack runners in Chad Johnson, Thomas Pollard and Milo Greder, who finished 19th, 20th and 21st respectively.

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Iowa State distance runners Milo Greder (left), Edwin Kurgat (middle) and Dan Curts (right) placed in the top 10 for male runners during the 2018 Big 12 Cross Country Championships on Oct. 26, 2018, at Iowa State. The men’s team placed first overall with a score of 32.

The Cyclones will have some time to rest before their next challenge as they will run in the prestigious Wisconsin Nuttycombe Invitational in Madison, Wisconsin, on Oct. 18th. Going up against many of the same teams they saw Saturday, it will be a good test before the Big 12 Championships and subsequent postseason.

Individual Results:

1. Edwin Kurgat (Senior), 23:47.3

11. Addison Dehaven (Senior), 24:19.2

15. Mitchell Day (Junior), 24:35.4

19. Chad Johnson (Sophomore), 24:50.4

20. Thomas Pollard (Junior), 24:51.3

21. Milo Greder (Junior), 24:53.3

Team Results:

1. Northern Arizona, 31 pts.

2. Stanford, 51 pts.

3. Iowa State, 66 pts.

4. Purdue, 70 pts.

5. Indiana, 165 pts.

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