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Melchert off to good start

BY MARIO WILLIAMS | FEBRUARY 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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Two weeks ago, on Jan. 24, at the Big Four Duals in Ames, freshman Michael Melchert turned a few heads.

The freshman snagged the title in the men’s 3,000 meters, crossing the line in 8:36.37.

Despite starting out a bit slowly, the freshman picked the pace up in the last 400 meters to come on top, and he felt confident in doing so.

“I was expecting overall to go out faster, but it ended up working out,” he said. “I felt pretty comfortable and held it till the last lap.”

Iowa head coach Layne Anderson had also hoped for Melchert to come out stronger and powerful in the race, but he was content with his finish.

“I was pleased with his progress,” Anderson said. “The pace wasn’t particularly fast, but Michael’s last 400 was really fast, and it was a very clear indicator that he’s ready to run a lot faster.”

Despite Melchert’s slow start, Anderson understands the circumstances of being a freshman athlete and competing at a high level.

“It’s not always the easiest to just go right out from the gun and certainly not when you’re a freshman,” he said.

Melchert was the only freshman of the five Hawkeye distance runners who competed in the race. The Monticello native found no pressure in competing against his older teammates and also being one of the few freshmen on the roster.

“Freshman year is kind of just figuring everything out,” he said.

To help Melchert not fold under any pressure so early on in the season, the freshman finds training with sophomore Kevin Docherty, along with seniors Kevin Lewis and Ben Witt encouraging to his development.

“Those guys are really good contributors with helping me,” he said “They’ve all been in competitive settings, and they give me a lot of confidence and help boost me up.”

Docherty finds training and being a leader for Melchert pleasing.

“Training with Melchert is awesome,” he said. “He has abilities that you can’t teach a runner.”

The sophomore believes having Melchert on the team will set the squad up for success throughout the season.

“At the Big Four Duals, he showed us that he's capable of big things this year,” Dochertyhe said. “For being a freshman on the team, he shows great composure during races and practice.”

On Friday, the freshman will compete in the men’s mile at the Sevigne Husker Invitational in Lincoln, Nebraska. This race may not be Melchert’s signature, but his coach is eager to see him break through in a more competitive setting.

“When the opportunity presents itself, he’s definitely ready to take advantage of it,” Anderson said. “All he needs is something to challenge him, and I’m anticipating for him to run a lot faster”

As the indoor season continues to progress, there’s only one thing Melchert hopes for.

“It would be nice to make Big Ten finals in the mile or 3,000,” he said. “I would love to get a Big Ten experience my freshman year.”

Follow @marioxwilliams on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa track and field teams.


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