The University of Iowa is seeking homegrown talent, recruiting hard right here in Iowa.
Under the lead of Randy Hasenbank since August of 2016, the University of Iowa distance program has taken a turn. Coach Hasenbank brought in a lot of experience before arriving in Iowa City after coaching at Loyola University of Chicago, where he won 5 consecutive Horizon League team championships. He is looking to bring that same success to the Hawkeyes, now focusing on in-state talent to form the women's team. In his first official cross country recruiting class, he has already penned five strong Iowa ladies who can bring a great deal of talent to the team.
One of those five is Anna Hostetler, who has committed to compete next fall after she finishes her career at Mid-Prairie High School.
During her 4 years of running cross country she has four top 15 Iowa State Cross Country finishes, including the individual title in 2015 and a 5k XC PR of 17:42. This past year she was Iowa's 2A runner- up behind her younger sister Marie Hostetler, where the duo lead the team to their first ever team title. On the track she has accumulated 4 individual State titles with PRs of 2:14 in the 800-meter, 4:33 in the 1500-meter and 9:47 in the 3K.
Another homegrown talent is Jessica Mckee led the powerhouse Johnston Dragons for the last 4 years. Over those 4 years she helped the Dragons to 3 XC team titles. During this time she individually finished in the top 10 every year in class 4A. This past weekend at the Nike Heartland Regional race, Jessica clocked an impressive 17:58, just 13-seconds off of her 5K PR from 2016 . On the track her 1500-meter PR is 4:49 and she has ran 10:19 in the 3K. Make sure to check out her college signing video below!
One runner who has already shown great improvements throughout her high school career to build on Kylie Latham. During her freshman year she fell just short of making the state meet, but came back as a sophomore to place 4th. During her junior year she jumped up all the way to 9th place, with senior year holding her best finish ever in 5th place. Kylie will be hoping to continue this upward trend as she competes for the Hawkeyes in the fall of 2018.
Emma Gordon has also committed to the Hawkeyes and will look to have the same trend of improvement as Kylie. Emma started her high school career at 2A school Mediapolis High School, achieving a 5K PR of 20:52. During her junior and senior year she competed for Ankeny Centennial High School where she dropped her PR down to 19:01. During her 4 year career she was able qualify for all 4 state XC Championships, completing it with a 52nd place finish in the class 4A XC meet last month.
Sophia Gilbert is another great recruit that the University of Iowa has penned. During the last two years competing for Benton Community High School she was able to rack up two top 5 finishes at the State XC meet, with a 5th place finish in 2016 and 4th this year in the 3A race. Her cross country 5K PR is 18:39. Her track PR's are 4:52 in the 1500-meter and 10:24 in the 3000K.
So why is it that the University of Iowa is recruiting at home? Well to start, they have less in-state recruiting competition among the Division I level than many other states. Iowa State often goes for out-of-stater's and international athletes, leaving the Hawkeyes to compete the most with UNI. While we have seen an increase in Iowa athletes being recruited to programs like the University of Missouri, it is clear that the University of Iowa is recognizing the talent right here at home and recruiting hard for the locals. It will certainly be exciting to see how Coach Hasenbank coaches up these athletes and what they can accomplish at the NCAA Division I level.