Runners become fifth Cyclone sport to win league title


During the days of the Big Eight Conference, the ISU women’s cross country team dominated the league.

The Big Eight added women’s sports to its record keeping in 1974 and in the ensuing 21 years, the Cyclone women claimed a league-best eight titles. ISU won five conference crowns in a row (1975-79) during one stretch.

Iowa State finished fourth in 1995 – the first year of the Big 12 – and languished in the middle of the league standings for most of the next 15 years until third-place finishes in 2009 and 2010.

Last weekend in College Station, Texas, the women’s cross country became just the fifth Cyclone sport (joining women’s and men’s basketball, gymnastics and wrestling) to win a league title.

Everyone contributed to the win.

“It was a team win,” Coach Corey Ihmels said. “We have a group of young ladies who are doing it for the right reasons and the team was the most important thing.”

Meaghan Nelson, a junior from Cedar Rapids, finished second in the race as she begins to accept the fact that she is one of the best in the nation.

“(Earlier this season) she caught herself as a spectator running with some other really good ladies at the front of the pack,” Ihmels said. “Saturday was a great step for her and she’ll be in the mix the rest of the season.”

The end target is the NCAA Championships on Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind.

“We’ve got roughly 21 more days to keep making improvements,” Ihmels said.

The Cyclones will continue those preparations with the confidence of being conference champions.

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