Runners from the Iowa Lakes Community College Cross Country Team will travel to Hobbs, N.M., to compete in the NJCAA Division I National Cross Country Meet - hosted by New Mexico Junior College. The team will begin their journey on Wednesday, November 9, with the meet to take place on Saturday, November 12, at 10:00 a.m.
Four women and four men will make the trip to the national meet.
The women representing Iowa Lakes are Krista Pelzer, Sydney Park, Melissa Gjerde, and Emily Hecht. The men are Brian Minear, Gunner Johnson, Zane Blanchard, and Josh Freese.
“Since we are only taking four people from both the men’s and women’s side, each athlete will be battling for individual placing and personal best times,” said Head Coach Molly Struve.
Coach Struve looks for the four Laker women to finish close together.
“These four women are really exciting to watch. They typically all finish within a minute of each other, which means we don’t have a certain front runner. Lately, Sydney and Krista have been alternating our number one spot on the team, but Melissa is always within seconds of them as well. I am thankful for this inter-squad competition; the women are great at motivating each other during the race, which results in lower times and better finishes. ”
In the men’s race, Coach Struve looks for her top runners to stay consistent.
“I look for Brian Minear to finish in the top third of the pack. He has consistently been our number one runner on the men’s team and earned 14th place at our Regional Meet on October 28th, even though he didn’t obtain a season best time. If he can run a season best time he will be able to meet this goal. Gunner has held our number two spot most of the season and my goal for him is to finish in the top half. Zane and Josh have also been dropping their times from meet to meet, so hopefully they will run personal best times at this meet.”
Coach Struve also notes, “Iowa produces some of the best cross country teams in the nation, so the competition we had at the regional meet will be close to what we can expect at the national meet. We are lucky to have had the chance to run against some great teams this season; I am confident that these four athletes are ready to compete at the national level.”
Cross Country Nationals Team
First row (L-R): Melissa Gjerde, Krista Pelzer, Sydney Park and Emily Hecht
Second row (L-R): Gunner Johnson, Josh Freeze, Zane Blanchard, Brian Minear