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Men’s harriers finish first, women’s second at Illinois State Invitational

BY MARIO WILLIAMS and SHELBY STITES | SEPTEMBER 15, 2014 5:00 AM

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Men’s team

The Iowa men’s cross-country squad had a strong showing at the Illinois State Invitational with six players finishing in the top 15. As a team, they finished first overall, led by Kevin Lewis. The senior finished with a time of 24:22 to earn fourth place.

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson believes his team ran well and was proud of everyone’s efforts. The team has been preparing for each specific meet with specific training methods.

“We really focused on a total team effort. We ran as pack, and everyone moved as one,” Anderson said. “They really raced like the team we’ve been showing ourselves to be in practice.”

Sophomores Ben Anderson, Anthony Gregorio, Taylor Soltys, Nate Ferree, and senior Ben Witt all earned places in the top 15. Ben Anderson finished in ninth place with a time of 24:42, Gregorio finished in 12th place with a time of 24:54, Soltys came in 13th with a time of 24:58, Ferree placed 14th with a time of 25:00, and Witt finished in 10th place with a time of 24:46.

Freshman Michael Melchert ran for the very first time as a Hawkeye and finished in 31st place with a time of 25:32.

“It was nice to see the team have breakthrough performances.” Layne Anderson said.

Women’s team

The Iowa women’s cross-country team sought positive momentum heading into the Illinois State Invitational and did not fall short of it on Sept. 12.

Thirteen Hawkeyes ran at Illinois State and received a second-place finish under the lead of sophomore runner Katie Adams, who finished sixth with a personal best time of 17:51 in the 5,000-meter race. Alongside Adams, sophomore Samantha Zishka finished eighth with a time of 17:56.

“The girls also did a nice job running as a pack. They ran consistent throughout the race, but we really looked good in the last three to four minutes,” Anderson said. “Those are things I like to see.”

Redshirt freshman Courtney Bruns competed in her second race as a Hawkeye and finished at 18:09, good for 16th. Other top-20 finishes include junior Courtney Martin (15th/18:08), sophomore Tess Wilberding (17th/18:10), and junior Jocelyn Todd (18th/18:10).

Spanish standout freshman Marta Bote Gonzalez finished her first Hawkeye race in 27th with a time of 18:26, and Illinois native Lisa Gordon finished 22nd at 18:19.

“It was an outstanding day overall for both teams,” Anderson said in a release. “They did a great job of running in packs and controlling their efforts. I thought we raced well from the top of our lineup on down. This was a great starting point to our season.”

The Hawk harriers will next run in the Big Ten Preview on Saturday in Iowa City

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


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