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Men’s Cross Country Notebook: Last season disappointing for Anderson

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | AUGUST 27, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa cross-country head coach Layne Anderson says that last season wasn’t satisfying.

He cited lack of performance and countless injuries in 2013 at factors that led to the Hawkeyes’ 10th-place Big Ten finish.

Senior Kevin Lewis, who was All-Region last year, looks forward to changing this season through personal goals and growth as well as taking on leadership roles.

Lewis plans to become an All-American at the NCAA meet and go for the individual title at the Big Ten meet. He also plans to lead his team in his last year of college cross-country.

“I want to help all of my teammates realize their full potential and be at a good place by the end of the season to have more great years of competition after I’m gone,” Lewis said.

Anderson believes Lewis can do so. He described Lewis as the team’s top runner on paper and expects him to have a strong season.

“He’s poised to make a breakthrough; now, it’s time to just go out and do it,” Anderson said. “His leadership will be clearly defined by racing in the front of the pack. He has a clear focus and sharp mind on what he wants to achieve.”

Another senior — Ben Witt — admittedly isn’t at the same level as Witt, but he believes he has another role on the team: leadership.

He plans to do so with two different philosophies. The first is approaching each meet with a positive attitude. The second, he said, is to be a mentor to the younger members of the team.

“I plan to show them the ropes,” Witt said. 

Bouncing back

Last year’s squad may have not competed like the team Anderson saw in training and practice; however, this year, the team is expecting the opposite.

“We have to line up and compete no matter who’s standing in front of us or what weekend it is,” Anderson said.

For Anderson, this will be somewhat of a new experience, as he focused primarily on the women’s team in the past. In addition to all of his other 17 years of college coaching, he isn’t nervous about a thing. Anderson described his goals for this upcoming season with four simple words.

“Improve, perform, compete, and develop,” Anderson said. “Any team is looking to improve upon the previous season. We didn’t win, we weren’t near the top, so improve with a capital I is very important. This group has made a big improvement.

“I want us to run to our potential, and do our best to keep everyone healthy. That’s our No. 1 objective.” Anderson said.

Schedule concerns

Lewis said Iowa’s toughest opponents are Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan this season.

Indiana, Wisconsin, and Michigan all beat Iowa in the Big Ten meet last season. The Hoosiers came in first, the Wolverines came in second, and the Badgers came in third.

“After that, it could be just about any team in any order,” Lewis said.

“The Big Ten is tough, especially in this sport. We have to be on top of our game because we’re going up against top-level competition,” Anderson said. “It’s not a weak conference.”


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