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Freshman runner keeps legacy on course

BY JORDAN HANSEN | SEPTEMBER 06, 2013 5:00 AM

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Kevin Docherty knows Iowa cross-country very well.

But not because he was a fan. His mother, father, and sister all competed for the Hawkeyes at different times.

His father, Jim Docherty, was a member of the team that set Iowa records in the 6,400-meter relay and the distance medley. In addition, he is in the top10 all-time in the 800 and the mile. His mother was just as distinguished and qualified for the U.S. Olympic trials six times.

“My oldest sister ran here also; she graduated,” he said. “My brother ran at Loyola of Chicago. My [other] sister currently runs at the University of Minnesota.”

And while competing runs in the family, no one ever pressured him into it.

“My parents never really pushed me to run,” he said. “It just kind of came upon me; I kind of followed what my siblings did. I know I had this running gene in me.” he said.

A four-year cross-country runner at his high school in St. Paul, Minn., he was a two-time member of the all-state cross country team after top-10 finishes at the state meet his junior and senior years. In addition to cross-country, he also ran track and was named to the all-conference team twice.

Docherty was offered scholarships from Minnesota, Colorado State, and Iowa.

When it came time to pick one, however, he wasn’t sold on a school until he visited the campus.

“Honestly, going into my senior year of high school, I never really pictured myself at Iowa,” he said. “Once I came on a visit, and I met Coach Wiz and the guys — it was just the perfect place that I could call home.”

Head coach Larry Wieczorek was happy when he picked up Kevin as a commitment last year and has been impressed with him this year.

“He’s a tough guy, trained hard,” he said. “Fired up about running. He wants to run for a long time, after college even.”

Even though a good number of his runners are younger guys, Wieczorek sees that as an advantage for this season.

“Sometimes, young guys can contribute a lot,” he said. “I guess that’s what I’m expecting this year. That’s why I’m optimistic this year.”

Team captain Jon-Michael Brandt has been impressed with how the freshmen came in and meshed with the program and the culture that surrounds it.

“I think the freshmen are starting to figure it out, which is always nice,” he said. “I think that showed at the last meet with some of them doing really well,” he said.

For Docherty, the team comes before his individual finishes, and the team goal remains the same since his parents ran for Iowa.

“The team goal is to qualify for nationals — even though we’re considered underdogs,” he said. “It’s high on our list to qualify for those.”


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