Iowa Men's Track, Cross Country Announces 22 Incoming Athletes

Pleasant Valley senior Max Murphy (right) battles Dowling Catholic senior Sam Hall in last year's Iowa state cross country meet. (Bryon Houlgrave/Des Moines Register-Imagn Content Services)

Adam Hensley

The Iowa track and field and cross country officially announced 22 new male athletes into the programs on Monday. 

Last season, the men's cross country team finished 10th at the Big Ten Championships. Nathan Mylenek's graduation leaves some sizable shoes to fill, as he was the first Hawkeye to compete in back-to-back NCAA Championships since 2010.

Meanwhile, the track and field team dominated the indoor season, but saw its outdoor slate cancelled due to COVID-19. Sophomore Wayne Lawrence Jr. was named the Big Ten's Track Athlete of the Year.

Out of the 22 new additions to the rosters, seven are from Iowa. Here are some names to look out for this upcoming season:

Elijah Barnes (Fort Madison, Iowa)

  • Thrower

Barnes made a name for himself in the junior-college ranks, throwing shot put (54' 5") and discus (180' 6") with Iowa Central Community College. Barnes can carve out a name for himself early, as he joins a relatively young throwing group in Iowa City.

“In his first year in the junior college ranks, Elijah emerged as one of the up and coming combo throwers in the country," throwing coach Eric Werskey said in a release. "During the recruiting process, I was impressed with how well Elijah was already investing himself and committed to being a student of the sport. With his mindset and physical attributes, Elijah will have an immediate impact for our team.”

Nathan Farrell (Port Orange, Florida)

  • Hurdler

On paper, Farrell is primed to be yet another talented addition to the hurdler group in Iowa City. He specialized in the 300-meter hurdlers (37.26) and 600-meter dash (1:22.83) while with Flagler Palm Coach High School. Assistant track and field coach Jason Wakenight said he believes the 400 hurdles to be Farrell's "bread and butter."

"Nathan is fearless and has all the qualities I look for in an athlete," Wakenight said in a release. "He has a good heart and is a natural leader. He has a magnetic personality and helps bring people together. I love his future in the long sprints...This kid is going to be a special Hawkeye."

Ian Geisler (Huntley, Illinois)

  • Long distance

Geisler blossomed into one of Illinois' top long-distance runners in his time with Huntley High School, running the mile (4:18.54), two-mile (9:08.25), and three-mile race in cross country (12:24.92).

“Ian joins the University of Iowa track and field and cross country program as one of the fastest recruits in recent years," cross-country head coach Randy Hasenbank said in a release. "He is an outstanding, elite distance prospect and we are thrilled to have him.”

Khullen Jefferson (Lynwood, Illinois)

  • Long sprints

Tabbed by Wakenight as the "best-kept sprint secret in the Midwest," Jefferson is another immediate impact guy in Iowa's class. He competed in the 200-meters (21.96) and 400 (48.34) with Thornton Fractional South High School.

“I knew he was the best long sprinter in Illinois, which made signing him a priority," Wakenight said in a release. "He wants to be great and has a huge heart. Khullen is going to be one of the best freshman in the country.”

Austin Kresley (Bradenton, Florida)

  • Sprints

The potential is certainly there for Kresley. With IMG Academy, he ran 10.60 in the 100-meters and 21.34 in the 200. Head track and field coach Joey Woody knows a thing or two about sprinters, and he tabbed Kresley as "one of the most under-the-radar sprint prospects in the United States."

"Austin has huge potential in both sprint events, and he has the athletic ability and work ethic to make many Big Ten finals and qualify to the NCAA Championships," Woody said in a release. 

Max Murphy (Bettendorf, Iowa)

  • Long distance

Murphy flat-out dominated with Pleasant Valley High School, winning the 2019 Class 4A Cross Country Championship. Tabbed "Male Runner of the Year" by the Des Moines Register, Murphy was a NXN National qualifier and stands as arguably the best in-state prospect out of Iowa's recent additions.

“Max finished the year ranked as the top cross country runner in the state running 15:26 for 5,000 meters at Bettendorf," Hasenbank said in a release. "Max backed up that top ranking by winning a hotly contested State Cross Country Championship. His personal best performances on the track have made him one of the best Iowan’s in his class."

Everett Steward (Caron, California)

  • Middle distance 

Steward gives Iowa's middle-distance group a nice boost. In his time with Long Beach Poly High School, he notched a 400-meter time of 47.61 and an 800 time of 1:54.

“Everett is one of the best long sprint and middle-distance prospects in the country. Coming from one of the most storied high school programs in the country, he knows how to compete on the big stage," assistant coach Jason Wakenight said in a release. "...  He is such a good kid – the athletic ability is just the icing on the cake with Everett. He is going to be a showstopper here.”

Other additions to the Iowa programs

  • Dylan Dolezal (Marion, Iowa - Linn-Mar High School - distance)
  • Josh Duval (Richmond, Virginia - Manchester High School - long sprints)
  • Jason Hoffman (Shorewood, Illinois - Minooka High School - mid distance)
  • Kaleba Jack (Iowa City, Iowa - City High School - jumps)
  • Aiden King (St. Charles, Illinois - St. Charles East High School - distance)
  • Daniel Klysh (Elmhurst, Illinois - York High School - distance)
  • Kal Lewis (Shelter Island, New York - Shelter Island High School - distance)
  • Quintin Lyons (Van Nuys, California - Notre Dame High School - throws)
  • Jenoah Mckiver (High Point, North Carolina - T.W. Andrews High School - mid distance)
  • Jack Pendergast (Cedar Rapids, Iowa - Cedar Rapids Prairie High School - distance)
  • Evan Schuster (Racine, Wisconsin - St. Catherine's High School - long sprints)
  • Jorma Schwedler Jr. (Sergeant Bluff, Iowa - Sergeant Bluff Luton High school - long sprints)
  • Martin Strong (Kirkwood, Missouri - Kirkwood High School - mid distance)
  • Elliott Ward (Waterloo, Iowa - Waterloo High School - distance)
  • Drake Woody (North Liberty, Iowa - Liberty High School - sprints/hurdles)

For additional content, follow Adam Hensley on Twitter @A_Hens83.

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