Amy Rudolph is the new head coach of the Iowa State women’s cross country team. Rudolph is inheriting an already strong team that brought home the Big 12 Cross Country and NCAA Midwest Region titles at the 2017 NCAA Cross Country Championships.
Rudolph was an assistant coach at Auburn and Drake for a total of eight years before coming to Iowa State. This is Rudolph’s first head coaching role.
Rudolph started running at the young age of six. Her parents and elementary gym teacher pulled Rudolph into the sport. Her gym teacher started an after-school program for kids who wanted to run once class was done for the day.
“The practices were very basic, but I later went on to Junior Olympic events,” Rudolph said. “The next thing I knew one year rolled into the another, and I was running at Providence College.”
After running at Providence for four years, she went on to go pro. Rudolph had a successful career as a 13-year professional.
Rudolph enjoys cross country due to the team aspect; it’s very pure due to the running routes.
“Everyone runs the same distance, and it is based on who is the best on that day,” Rudolph said.
Coming to Iowa State, Rudolph was very interested in the history of the school and the cross country program itself. Rudolph was also interested in working with Martin Smith, the director of men’s and women’s track and cross country.
"While coming to Iowa State, I knew Smith had great success, and he was one of the biggest reasons to be here," Rudolph said. "Another reason was the team not just because of their talent but because of how they treat each other and rally behind one another is amazing."
The Iowa State women's cross country has been consistently successful as of late. In the fall of 2017, the Cyclones had some impressive showings. Last year in September, the Cyclones visited Minnesota and came in second place.
In October, during the Big 12 championship, Iowa State came in first place. Closing out last year the Cyclones also got first place in the NCAA Midwest Regional and finished in 20th place in the NCAA championship. The Cyclones are looking to maintain their momentum through the rest of the 2018 season. This success comes with an enormous amount of pressure.
“There is pressure coming into a team that has been good for so many years, but it is a challenge I am willing to embrace,” Rudolph said.
Rudolph’s goal for this season is to get the most out of all of her runners. Some of these athletes will be here for four or five years, and she wants them to feel comfortable and do whatever works for them.
“Some goals that both I and the team have is that we want to win conference finals," Rudolph said. "We also want to qualify for nationals but not only qualify, but we also want to go out there and do something."
Sophomore distance runner, Cailie Logue, has many awards to her name. Logue was named a Team USA Member for the IAAF U20 World Championships (2018), USATF Junior Outdoor National Champion of the 3,000m & 5,000m (2018) and Academic All-Big 12 Rookie team (2018).
“I try to show improvement from the year before,” Logue said. “I would like to be an All-American at the national seed.”
Logue was coached in high school by her father, and she is used to having a strong relationship with a coach. Logue looks for a strong bond in a coach, in knowing that she can talk to her coach about anything and that she is comfortable about speaking her mind. Logue said she believes in Rudolph, and she is one of the reasons why Logue decided to stick with Iowa State.
“To have Amy here is a blessing, everything has been a smooth transition from a couple months ago where we didn’t know who was going to be our coach for the year,” Logue said. “Amy and our team work very well together.”
Rudolph knows exactly what these women are going through. She understands academics come first, and the sport comes second. Rudolph appreciates the hard work it takes to come to practice week in and week out and also believes this team has not shown its greatest potential yet.
“Amy is very organized, she understands the life of a student-athlete, which I really appreciate, I’m glad someone understands what I am going through,” Logue said. “Coach Rudolph is excited, possibly even more excited than we are to come to practice, we like to say that we are ‘practicing in front of an Olympian’ due to how much success she’s had in her career.”