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After injury, Lewis shines

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | NOVEMBER 04, 2014 5:00 AM

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For many cross-country runners, it may be arduous to overcome an injury and come back with a breakthrough performance. For Kevin Lewis, this wasn’t a complication.

The Ottumwa native suffered a knee injury a few weeks ago that completely slowed down his fitness level. He missed out on opportunities to compete at Pre-Nationals and train with his teammates. The senior described his two weeks off as a terrible place to be at in his senior year.

“I was really mad not being able to run,” he said. “Training when you’re injured is terrible because your future is so unknown as far as when you’ll be able to run outside again. Time goes so slow.”

Although he took lengthy time off, Lewis believed that his break prepared him to flourish. e“I think being injured and having time off freshened me up a bit,” he said. “I had been running such high mileage, my body was finally given some good rest to get strong.”

In hopes of getting over his injury and getting strong, Lewis went through a rehabilitation process that included swimming, using the elliptical, and lots of stretching. The senior felt the rehab procedure was quite annoying.

“It’s not that fun,” he said. “I just wanted to get back out there running as soon as possible.”

Run he did. Lewis came back in full effect at the Big Ten championships, gracing the Ashton Cross-Country Course by leading his team to an eighth-place finish. Lewis finished sixth with a career-best time, joining Iowa’s first-team All-Big Ten selections. His time of 23:52 ranks eighth all-time in Iowa history.

Sophomore Kevin Docherty, who earned a 44th and crossed the line at 24:39, believed the honor was fit for Lewis.

“His performance is what he’s been training for all year,” Docherty said. “All the hard work is paying off for him, and it’s showing. He deserves the Big Ten honor more than anyone.”

His head coach noted that he came back from the injury and performed effectively.

“He’s had a great year,” Iowa head coach Layne Anderson said. “He came out under less than ideal circumstances the last couple of weeks and performed well.”

Sophomore Ben Anderson, who filled the senior’s shoes during his absence at Pre-Nationals, thought having Lewis back on the squad was huge for him and his teammates.

“He was phenomenal,” Anderson said. “I was so proud of him as a teammate to see him succeed after all he has gone through and sacrificed. He is the heart of our team.”

Docherty has thoughts similar to Anderson’s about Lewis’ comeback at the championship.

“Just having his presence at the front of the pack made me and the rest of the team feel comfortable knowing we have our front runner and captain back,” Docherty said.

With finishing well at the Big Ten matchup and having first-team All-Big Ten under his belt, Lewis won’t stop just yet.

“It feels great to be first-team All-Big Ten, but I’m still very hungry,” Lewis said. “I want to become an All-American; that’s the next step.”


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