EVANSTON, Ill. – University of Iowa sophomores Michael Melchert (17th) and Madison Waymire (31st) raced to lifetime bests at the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Sunday. The pair each recorded the 10th-fastest times in school history in their respective races.
The Hawkeye men (265) and women (319) finished 10th, overall.
“Melchert and Waymire certainly performed well and were the highlights for the teams today,” head coach Layne Anderson said. “As a group, I had high hopes we would be at least three places higher. We had some individuals who got out well and then faded.
“For Melchert to finish three seconds out of second-team All-Big Ten after placing 64th a year ago is a great step forward for him, and for Waymire to place like she did in her first Big Ten meet and just miss running under 21 minutes is a great feather in her cap as we approach the end of the season.”
Melchert (23:57.5) shaved nearly 17 seconds off his 8,000-meter time from the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 16. He joins Iowa’s exclusive all-time list, which includes his former teammate and 2014 All-Big Ten honoree Kevin Lewis (8th/23:52).
“I wanted to get out with the leaders just like I did,” Melchert said. “It turned out to be a real race. The pace pulled me through 6,000 meters and the last 3,000 meters I just had to grind it out. I knew if I could finish well I would have a huge personal best.”
Waymire, who completed the women’s 6,000-meter course in 21:01.8, is the first Hawkeye to crack Iowa’s top-10 list since All-American Mareike Schrulle (2nd/19:43) and All-Region honoree Megan Ranegar (8th/20:43) in 2012. She is also the first Hawkeye to guide the team in five consecutive races since Racheal Marchand in 2008.
“Overall, I think it was a fairly good race for me,” Waymire said. “We raced on a really fast course where there was some great competition. Bringing a personal best into Regionals definitely gives me more confidence because I know there’s a lot more to give out there.”
Junior Tess Wilberding (69th/22:06.0) was Iowa’s second finisher for the women, while senior Anthony Gregorio (45th/24:33.9) was runner-up for the Hawkeye men.
Iowa resumes action at the NCAA Midwest Regional on Nov. 13 in Lawrence, Kansas.
“We will look back and try to improve on the areas where we were deficient today and continue to build on the areas where we are strong,” Anderson said. “We have to put this behind us and get ready for Regionals to see if we can finish off with a performance that is more in line with what we are expecting from this group.”