By Hanna Malzenski
Iowa cross-country will wrap up its regular season at the familiar Bradley Pink Invitational in Peoria, Illinois.
The regular season for Hawkeye cross-country will finish today at the Bradley Pink Classic Invitational in Peoria, Illinois. The Iowa men will run the 8K Red Race at 3:15 p.m., and the women will run the 6K Red Race at 4 p.m.
The Bradley Pink Invitational is a regular race for Hawkeye cross-country, one that many of the harriers athletes have experienced. For Nathan Mylenek, one of the top Hawkeyes, today marks his second time on the Peoria course.
“It’ll be nice going into the race knowing exactly how it will be run and what the course is like,” said the sophomore. “I am able to run my race and know exactly what I want to do going into it.”
This familiarity will come in handy with the tough competition Bradley will host for both the men and women’s squads.
For Iowa’s women, the field includes 20 Midwest Region teams with eight regionally ranked. The ranked lineup consists of No. 3 Missouri, No. 8 South Dakota, No. 9 Kansas State, No. 10 Northern Illinois, No. 11 Bradley, No. 12 Northern Iowa, No .13 Loyola, and No. 14 Illinois State.
On the men’s side, the competition includes 18 Midwest Region ranked teams and two Great Lakes Region ranked teams. The ranked teams from the Midwest Region include No. 7 Nebraska, No. 8 Missouri, No. 12 Bradley, No. 13 Wichita State, No. 14 Kansas State, and No. 15 St. Louis. For the Great Lakes Region, the two ranked teams are No. 11 Oakland and No. 14 Marquette.
The Hawkeye men will be able to match the competition; they recently received a sixth-place ranking in Midwest Region. The ranking is the men’s highest since 2010, when the Hawkeyes ranked fifth.
Iowa’s men clearly kept the momentum strong through the various invitationals the season has presented.
Mylenek sees Bradley as a preview for the bigger meets ahead.
“We’ve already proved ourselves as team,” Mylenek said. “This race will prep us for what the conference meet is going to be like.”
With the regular season wrapping up and the postseason competition on the horizon, Hawkeye cross-country wants to stay steady.
Junior Daniel Soto has been made strides this fall after being injured for the 2016 season, and he’s confident in the talent that Iowa brings to the table.
“We’ve got a solid group of guys who want to go out and dictate how the race plays out upfront,” said Soto.
At the 2016 Bradley Pink Invitational, the men finished the 8,000-meters 16th out of 27 teams (425 points). The women finished the 6,000-meters with 610 points, 24th out of 30 teams.
After this final regular-season race, Hawkeye cross-country will head to Bloomington, Indiana, for the Big Ten Championships, a meet Iowa has circled on its schedule for the entire season.