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Cross country set to go to Illinois State

BY MARIO WILLIAMS and SHELBY STITES | SEPTEMBER 12, 2014 5:00 AM

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Now that they have more competition under their belts, Iowa head cross-country Layne Anderson wants his runners to run with more aggression.

After competing fairly well in the first meet of the season — The Hawkeyes had the top finisher in both the men’s and women’s races — Anderson believes there’s a ways to go. Although the team has completed workouts, Anderson has a set level of fitness in terms of where he wants his runners to be early on in the season. He said doesn’t want his runners “too fit” going into today’s meet.

“We don’t want to be too fit because its still very early, but we don’t want to be so far behind where we feel like catching up is going to be difficult,” he said. “Training has been a good indicator of a logical and acceptable level of fitness for both groups. We’re good, but we’re going to get better.”

On the men’s side, following the team’s success, Anderson wants the harriers who ran well in the first meet to carry that on.

“It will be fun to get everyone going,” Anderson said. “It’ll also be fun to see Ben Anderson in a more competitive setting.”

Sophomore Ben Anderson, who won the squad’s first meet, is wants to follow his same tactic but on a higher level.

“I plan to keep the attack mentality but also run in a pack with my teammates,” he said. “For this race, you have to be sharp — it’s starting to get into the big meets.”

Freshman Michael Melchert will run in his first meet as a Hawkeye. He has been building his mileage up and running with some of his teammates. Melchert also says he wants to run in a pack with his teammates.

“I want to see how we run as a pack and see how I can run an 8K,” he said. “I just want to go out hard and work to get to the next mile as fast as possible.”

The Iowa women’s team also would like to compete in a pack.

“Our expectation is to compete with a pack mentality,” Layne Anderson said. “Positive momentum in the early races is beneficial so we shall look to create some this Friday.”

The coach’s plan will create momentum by shifting their focus from giving runners opportunities to getting many of their top runners into the lineup to challenge their opponents.

Sophomore Courtney Bruns is at the top of this lineup after a women’s top finish in her Hawkeye début at the team’s first meet.

“For the first race of the season, I felt pretty good, and so I am definitely expecting to progress forward at the Illinois State meet,” Bruns said.

Progress is what fuels the Hawkeyes as they focus on getting done what it takes each day to improve not only individually, but as a team. Anderson believes that looking beyond this weekend could result in missed opportunities.

Follow @marioxwilliams and @ShelbyStites on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa cross-country teams.


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