Aug. 29, 2012
The University of Iowa men's and women's cross country teams will kick off the 2012 season at the Western Illinois Early Bird Open on Friday. The event will be held at the Spring Lake Cross Country Facility in Macomb, Ill. The women's 6K is scheduled to begin at 5 p.m. with the men's 8K to follow at 5:45 p.m.
IN THE RANKINGS
Both the men's and women's cross country teams are ranked in the USTFCCCA Regional rankings. The women's team is ranked fifth in the Midwest Region, while the men are ranked ninth. The women also recieved four votes in the national poll.
KEY RETURNERS -- MEN
Nick Holmes and Kevin Lewis will return to the course Friday. Holmes received all-Region honors last year after his 18th place finish at the NCAA Midwest Regional (31:41). The senior was also Iowa's top finisher at the Roy Griak Invitational (24:36). Lewis, a sophomore, won the 2011 Iowa Invitational when he crossed the line in 25:31.70. Sophomores Sam Fourman and Ben Witt, juniors Jon Michael Brandt and Sam Chaney, and senior Cameron Rieger will also compete Friday.
KEY RETURNERS -- WOMEN
Katherin Rehn will return for her junior season Friday. Rehn ran to a seventh place finish at the 2011 Iowa Open when she crossed the 4,000 meter line in 15:00. Junior Lena Placzek will also compete Friday.
Four redshirt freshmen will compete Friday. They include, Rachel Price, Brooke Bierhaus, Shannon Maser, and Jocelyn Todd. Todd took seventh place at the 2011 Iowa Invite while competing unattached. She ran the 3K in 10:45.
Five newcomers are expected to make their Hawkeye debut Friday. Freshmen Matt Butler, Anthony Gregorio, Taylor Soltys, and Caleb Wilfong, along with senior transfer Nate Lonsway will represent the black and gold for the first time.
A WORD FROM THE WIZ
"I think the athletes have trained well over the summer," said head men's cross country coach Larry Wieczorek. "In this meet they are primarily running off their summer training so I think it will give us a good indication of where we need to go."
The Hawkeyes will return to action Sept. 7 at the Bradley Open in Peoria, Ill.