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Lewis set for bounce back

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | OCTOBER 29, 2014 5:00 AM

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Iowa’s top runner Kevin Lewis missed out on an opportunity to perform at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3 because of a knee injury. Now that the senior is fresh off his injury, he’s ready to break through at the Big Ten championships on Nov. 2.

While training for the Notre Dame Invitational a few weeks ago, Lewis noticed sharp and tight pains in his knee.

“The pain was bad. It’s a sharp pain that randomly goes through my knee,” the Ottumwa native said. “Every time I bent it, the pain would be just bad.”

Prior to the meet, the senior had a cortisone injection in his knee, hoping that it would kick in just in time for the meet. Unfortunately for him, the injection didn’t work, but now he believes it has fully kicked in.

In preparation for the big matchup this weekend, the squad is working out at the Hoover Nature Trail. Aside from the regular scheduled team’s workouts, Lewis has been doing a lot of stretching. He hasn’t run at his normal pace in three weeks and believes running back at his original pace has helped his injury improve.

“The workouts are a good test,” he said. “Going into the workouts, I didn’t know if would be able to do it, but after, I feel good to go.”

Lewis has been the team’s top runner in every meet this season, with the exception of the Notre Dame Invitational. The senior’s main goal for this weekend is to keep his pack together, as he has done all season.

“I need to keep everyone together and toward the front,” he said. “Kind of similar to the first meet of the season [in which Iowa finished first].”

He is aware of the opposition the team will race against at the Ashton Cross-Country Course this weekend. Wisconsin and Michigan, he noted, are two of the best teams in the Big Ten.

However, that doesn’t mean there is a lack of opportunity.

“A lot of teams have also shown that they’re vulnerable,” Lewis said.

Coming off his injury, Lewis feels 100 percent ready to perform at the Big Ten meet, though he wears a knee brace. He believes wearing the brace keeps things where they’re supposed to be and will help him run more conservatively during the race.

“I feel ready, and I think that everything will go well,” he said. “The fitness is still there, and wearing the knee brace will make me run more conservatively in the beginning. It’s probably what I needed, anyway.”

His head coach echoed his belief.

“He’s still in great shape like he was before,” Iowa head coach Layne Anderson said. “I don’t think he missed too much.”

Anderson also believes the senior should focus on conservative running early on in the meet.

Senior Ben Witt has high expectations for his teammate.

“I still expect him to be our first guy,” the Burlington native said. “I know the competitor he is; he’s going to go out there and get it done. I have a lot of faith in him.”

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


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