Iowa State had a great day at Big 12s today as the Cyclones won everything in sight on their home course -- men's and women's individual and team titles.
I wasn't a fan of what they did in the men's race, though. They used a pacemaker, Zach Black, who ran up front for the first 2k or so before dropping out.
Iowa State already had the best guy in the field in Edwin Kurgat. Couldn't he have set the pace? Maybe they didn't want to overtax him (or maybe they thought if he made a hard move early, the rest of the field would just let him go), but one of the great things about XC is that times don't matter and there aren't pacemakers.
Until there are.
Apparently Iowa State coach Martin Smith has been doing this for years, and while everything worked out today, it could have ended in disaster. Iowa State only started seven runners (you can start up to 10) and two of them (including Black) dropped out. They only finished five guys -- could you imagine what would have happened if someone else went down and they only finished four with one guy DNFing because he was a pacer?
Anyway, not a fan of the pacemaker move in a cross country race. Thoughts?