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Hawkeye harriers step up

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | OCTOBER 23, 2014 5:00 AM

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Something was different about Iowa’s last meet. At the Pre-National Invitational on Oct. 18, Ben Anderson led the way for the Hawkeyes, not Kevin Lewis. Lewis, of course, is Iowa’s best runner.

Lewis didn’t finish the race because of soreness in his knee. In this case, someone had to step up. Anderson finished with a time of 25:17 to earn 73rd place.

Despite the Clive native leading his team in Lewis’ absence, he believed all the runners had the mentality that they could lead the team without their main guy.

“When Kevin was out, we all knew we had to step up,” Anderson said. “We couldn’t let his being out affect us. We all know that we’re better with him, but just because he’s out doesn’t mean we can’t be successful as a team.”

Teammate and sophomore Kevin Docherty echoed his sentiments.

“He knew he had to step up without Kevin in the picture,” Docherty said. “As his best friend I couldn't be more proud of him, showing all of us what he's been capable of doing all along. He has big things to come this season.”

The sophomore also believes Anderson was the right runner to lead the team after finding out Lewis wasn’t going to finish the race.

“Ben is the biggest team player I know,” he said. “He will run himself into the ground before he lets the team down.”

His head coach has also been pleased with his efforts so far this season.

“I didn’t necessarily expect [Anderson] to step up [because Lewis didn’t finish],” Iowa head coach Layne Anderson said. “I expected him more to step up because he’s shown himself to be that kind of runner. He’s prepared himself to perform at that level.”

Anderson is using this meet to prepare for the upcoming postseason.

“You have to trust the work you put in up to this point,” the sophomore said. “I feel stronger as the weeks go on. If I don’t feel results, the results are going to come. Regardless of how I think I feel, I’m going to be fit.”

The sophomore emphasized the importance of meet results being a true indicator of a runner’s training. Anderson knew he was fit early on in the season after the Illinois State Invitational. He finished with a time of 24:42 to earn a ninth place, after Kevin Lewis, in the 8,000-meter race.

“I knew that at that point I was pretty fit when I had already broken 25 early on in the season,” he said.

Anderson is sticking to his same workout methods going into the postseason, which begins with the Big Ten championships Nov. 2.

“I’m not trying to change anything right now,” he said. “My main goal is to stay fit and even getting more fit if I can.”

Follow @marioxwilliams on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s cross-country team.


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