After workmanlike performances, Cyclones are “excited” for nationals with an eye on the big prize.

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The Iowa State women’s cross country team, ranked No. 2 nationally, competes in the NCAA Championship Saturday. They are trying to become the first Cyclone team to win a national title since the 1994 men’s cross country team.

Corey Ihmels, the current coach, was a runner on that championship squad 18 years ago.

As his team prepares for this weekend’s race, it doesn’t sound like Ihmels is planning any fire-breathing pre-race speeches because that doesn’t fit his team’s demeanor.

The Cyclones were heavily favored to win both their conference and regional meets and did so running workmanlike races. They “ran to the race” Ihmels said.

“But, we’re excited to get to nationals,” Ihmels said. “This week should be fun. I think (their motivation) is going to happen by itself. We haven’t run perfect yet and hope it happens on Saturday. “(Our team) is calm, cool and collected.”

A year ago, Iowa State crowed three All-Americans at the NCAA Championship but didn’t bring home a trophy. That is a bad memory for several members of his current team.

The Cyclones’ current national ranking indicates they are a title contender talent wise. It sounds as though Ihmels also likes the team mindset and that is more important.

Reader feedback is welcome at 2minutetimeout@iastate.edu. You can also follow me on Twitter at twitter.com/SteveMalchow

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