By Hanna Malzenski
The Iowa women’s cross-country team has sported a younger team in the past, and the 2017 season is no different. The team has eight freshmen, seven sophomores, three juniors, and just two seniors.
Seniors Marta Gonzalez and Madison Waymire wrapped up their regular season strong at the Bradley Pink Invitational in Peoria, Illinois, on Oct. 14. Both competed the 6,000-meter race in dominating fashion against regionally ranked teams. Waymire placed 24th at 21:36.8 and Gonzalez 35th at 21:49.2, both finishing in the top-50 runners out of 247.
For both, the final races in the regular seasons have been a chance to push themselves as athletes and competitors. Heading into the postseason, the Big Ten Championship is the first meet that will test their work this season.
Head coach Randy Hasenbank is confident that nothing will change with the senior duo.
“I think we can expect a very competitive spirit out of both of them,” he said.
Hasenbank has been coaching Iowa cross-country for the past two seasons and has seen the seniors develop into the athletes and leaders they are today, specifically Gonzalez.
“I have been building and improving every single week since I started this season, and so I’m really excited for the next races,” Gonzalez said. “I feel like now I’m peaking.”
During her sophomore year, Gonzalez suffered an injury that prevented her from running both cross-country and track. With that behind her, her training has been strong, resulting in success during the tail end of the regular season.
As for Waymire, Hasenbank values the competitive spirit that the top Iowa runner brings to the team.
“Madison is arguably one of the most competitive people I have ever coached,” he said. “It’s either keep up or get left behind.”
He said Waymire’s aggressive approach results in her running the top packs during the meets.
Both runners, while from very different parts of the globe, have been key contributors for Iowa, not only in cross-country but in track and field.
During 2015, her freshman year, Gonzalez (a native of Merida, Spain) broke Iowa’s school record in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 10:23.15.
This season, Gonzalez sees herself as a support system for her younger teammates.
“All my teammates know that they can count on me to talk about anything or if they have any problems outside or inside that sport,” she said. “I help my teammates with whatever they need.”
Iowa native Waymire comes from Grimes and raced for Dallas Center-Grimes before becoming a Hawkeye. Breaking into Iowa’s top-10 all-time best is a feat that she is very familiar, holding spots in the 3,000-meter (sixth), 4,000-meter (ninth), and 6,000-meter (10th).
With these accomplishments, Waymire hopes that her competitive mindset trickles down to the younger women.
“In the past couple years, we’ve done a good job changing the mentality of the team,” she said. “We’ve become more accountable and have turned into a lot of hard workers.”
Heading in the postseason, Waymire hopes to give it all she has to finish out her senior year.
“I just really want to walk away happy with what I’ve done and feeling fulfilled with the effort I’ve put in the last four years,” she said.
Up next for the Hawkeyes is the Big Ten Championships. The race will take place at Indiana University on Oct. 29.