LAWRENCE, Kan. – The No. 6-ranked Iowa State women’s cross country team ran to their fourth-consecutive Big 12 title this morning at the Rim Rock Farm in Lawrence, Kansas. The Cyclones posted a team total of just 29 points, marking the lowest team score in a Big 12 championship race since 2004 (Colorado, 25).
The Cyclone women were dominant, placing three runners in the top-five and four in the top-10, as Crystal Nelson ran to the individual title. Katy Moen finished just 10 seconds behind Nelson in second, and Margaret Connelly took home the Big 12 Newcomer of the Year award, placing fourth overall.
Nelson broke the tape in 19 minutes, 49 seconds, becoming the just the second Cyclone individual in Big 12 history to take the crown (Betsy Saina, 2012). The No. 3-ranked Winchester, Virginia, native won the race in a wire-to-wire performance, taking down nationally ranked individuals in No. 2 Rachel Johnson (Baylor), No. 16 Monika Juodeskaite (Oklahoma State) and No. 23 Jillian Forsey (West Virginia).
Moen, ranked No. 11 nationally, ran on Nelson’s hip for the majority of the race, crossing the line as the overall runner-up in 19:59. Nelson and Moen have been listed as the nation’s best one-two punch, showing their strength in the race this morning. The Cyclone duo ran up front from the gun, giving Iowa State the race’s top two finishers for the second time in three years (Saina and Meaghan Nelson, 2012).
Fifth-year transfer Connelly gave the Cyclones their third top-five finisher, finishing the 6-kilometer race in 20:18. The Chicago, Illinois, native is the third Iowa State runner to be named the league’s newcomer of the year in as many years (Nelson – 2012, Bethanie Brown – 2013).
Iowa State women’s head coach Andrea Grove-McDonough noted earlier this week that redshirt-freshman Erin Hooker was due for a breakout performance. Hooker did just that, placing ninth overall in 20:47. The showing was Hooker’s fastest of the season by nearly a minute, passing several competitors down the homestretch of the race.
Sophomore Perez Rotich rounded out the Cyclone scoring effort, placing 13th overall in 20:55 seconds.
All five Iowa State scoring runners earned All-Big 12 Honors, placing among the race’s top 15 participants.
Next Time Out
The Iowa State women return to the course Nov. 15 in Peoria, Illinois, at the NCAA Midwest Regional. The Cyclones will be looking to capture their fifth-consecutive regional crown.
1. Iowa State – 29
2. West Virginia – 58
3. Baylor – 70
1) Crystal Nelson, Iowa State, 19:49; 2) Katy Moen, Iowa State, 19:59; 4) Margaret Connelly, Iowa State, 20:18; 9) Erin Hooker, Iowa State, 20:47; 13) Perez Rotich, Iowa State, 20:55; 27) Julie Wiemerslage, Iowa State, 21:29; 30) Heidi Engelhardt, Iowa State, 21:31; 34) Colleen Riley, Iowa State, 21:33