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Men’s harriers prepped for Big Ten Championships

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | OCTOBER 31, 2014 5:00 AM

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The Iowa men’s cross-country squad will host the Big Ten championships on Nov. 2.

Eight runners will compete in the Big Ten matchup. Sophomores Ben Anderson, Kevin Docherty, Nate Ferree, Anthony Gregorio, and Daniel Huff. In addition to those runners, freshman Michael Melchert, and seniors Kevin Lewis and Ben Witt will run.

Anderson, who led the team to a 18th place finish at the Pre-National Invitational, is approaching the big matchup like any of the squad’s other meets of the season.

“I like how we have approached other meets, and I don’t think we should psych ourselves out by approaching this one different,” he said.

This week the squad has prepped for this weekend’s matchup with workouts at the Hoover Nature Trail. After the workouts, the sophomore felt good about where the team stands going into the championship.

“I think we fit in great,” the Clive native said. “We’re ready to go out and compete and put on a good show. We are fully prepared and ready.”

Witt, who finished 121st at Pre-Nationals, has similar beliefs.

“The workouts are good for getting everyone to run together,” he said. “These workouts are all about getting everyone fresh.”

Unlike Anderson, Docherty believes that following a different approach going into the championship will make the team much more successful.

“We are approaching this meet with high standards considering we have yet to run to our full potential,” he said. “I think with the team we have, we should be anywhere from fourth to seventh place, third place if we all run a perfect race.”

Lewis, who has been the squad’s top runner all season, didn’t run in the team’s last meet because of soreness in his knee. The senior will compete in the Big Ten matchup. Bcause he has led his team all season, he plans to continue that same tactic this weekend.

“I need to keep everyone together and toward the front,” the Ottumwa native said.

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson has high expectations for his runners. As a team, the squad has worked out and prepared for the season since mid-June. The head coach believes everything up until this point has prepared them for this matchup.

Sunday marks the sixth time the cross-country team has hosted the Big Ten championships. The last time the harriers hosted the big matchup was 10 years ago, and that team finished in third place.

“This group is in great shape,” he said. “You train and race to prepare for these opportunities. If the training and the racing weren’t important we wouldn't do it. We’d just go straight to the end of the season and the first meet would be the last meet and we’d be done.”


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