Oct. 13, 2014
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- 24 Hawkeyes to Watch
Editor’s note: 24 Hawkeyes to Watch is a feature released Monday, Aug. 4, highlighting one athlete from each of the 24 intercollegiate sports offered by the University of Iowa. More than 700 talented student-athletes are currently busy preparing for the 2014-15 athletics year at the UI. Hawkeyesports.com will introduce you to 24 Hawkeyes who, for one reason or another, are poised to play a prominent role in the intercollegiate athletics program at the UI in the coming year.
By DARREN MILLER
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The roll call of running letterwinners at the University of Iowa isn’t a guest list for a Docherty Family Reunion, although it might appear that way.
Father Jim Docherty lettered in cross country for the Hawkeyes from 1974-76 and track in 1975, 1977 and 1978. He was All-American in the distance medley relay, ran 1:50.7 for 800 meters, and had a personal best of 3:44 in the 1,500-meter run.
Mother Bev (Boddicker) Docherty lettered in cross country and track from 1977-80. During her post-collegiate career she competed in six consecutive U.S. Olympic Trials in the marathon (1984-2004).
Sister Jennie Docherty lettered three times in cross country and twice in track from 2006-09. She anchored the Hawkeye 3,200-meter relay to the fourth-fastest time in school history (8:53.91) and ran third leg on the 10th-fastest distance medley relay (11:43.06).
Then there is the youngest Docherty sibling, Kevin, a sophomore at the UI, who won his collegiate cross country debut in 2013 at the Hawkeye Early Bird Invitational.
Two of Jim and Bev’s other children also competed collegiately: Danny at Loyola in Chicago and Laura at the University of Minnesota.
“I grew up running and my whole life I have been running,” Kevin said. “I would watch my mom run marathons; I would watch track meets with my brother and sister at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul (Minnesota), and I got to see a lot of Big Ten meets.”
Now he is running in those Big Ten competitions. But the decision wasn’t a clear-cut follow-the-parents-to-Iowa City one. Jim thought his youngest son would end up at Colorado State; Bev thought he would go to Minnesota. In the end, he decided to make the Docherty household “Hawkeyes x 4.”
“I had a good relationship with coach Wiz (former UI director of cross country/track and field Larry Wieczorek), who recruited me my whole life because my dad is good friends with him,” Kevin said. “After I visited Iowa I realized this is a place I could call home and the place I should be.”
A lifetime of trailing in footsteps of family members nearly convinced Docherty to attend school in Colorado. Then he realized that instead of blazing a new route, he could add to an existing one.
“I grew up running and my whole life I have been running. I would watch my mom run marathons; I would watch track meets with my brother and sister at Cretin-Derham Hall High School in St. Paul (Minnesota), and I got to see a lot of Big Ten meets.”
UI sophomore distance runner
“I thought I was going where none of my family had gone,” Docherty said. “But my family has been here and I have a history here. I saw that as being more important than creating my own path. I can build off what they have done.”
Layne Anderson, who replaced Wieczorek as head cross country coach, inherited a keeper in Docherty. During his first season of collegiate cross country competition, Docherty ran 12:34.52 for 4,000-meters, 18:56.64 for 6K, 25:05.61 for 8K, and 32:42.94 for 10K.
“He had a great freshman year, so it’s exciting to see him already early in his career achieving success and positioning himself,” Anderson said. “He’s a great young man from a great family. He has good genetics and he’s showing the abilities that coach Wiz thought he had when he recruited him.”
Docherty is easing into his sophomore season of cross country. While training in the summer for the USA Track & Field Junior Outdoor Championships, he experienced an issue with his Achilles’ heel. Docherty did not compete in the first two Hawkeye events of the fall and he completed 6,000 of the 8,000 meters of the Big Ten Preview meet on Sept. 20 on the Ashton Cross Country Course.
“The plan going in was to get some of the rust out,” Docherty said. “I was going to go through 6K with the guys and end the race feeling good. It was good getting back with the guys and having that pack.”
Anderson said Docherty is gradually growing into race shape and gaining ground quickly in practice.
“He’s training and he’s full go there, but we want him at the end of the year,” Anderson said. “He’s a person that can help us at the end of the year more than he can help us right now.”
Docherty placed 114th in a five-mile race at the Notre Dame Invitational on Oct. 3 (24:39.2).
Upcoming meets for the Hawkeyes include the Pre-National Invitational (Oct. 18), and Big Ten Championships (Nov. 2).
“My motto for cross country is about getting this team to nationals. Whatever that has to be I’m planning on doing that,” Docherty said.
“When it comes to track season, it’s about putting points on the board to help us win a Big Ten championship. My goal for indoors is to get that sub-4 (minute) mile. I don’t see it as being out-of-reach, it’s a matter of being in the right race at the right time. Having all the stars line up is a good way to put it.”
Last season Docherty ran 4:07 in the mile, 8:16 for 3K, and a 14:39 5K. He is more comfortable heading into his second year of collegiate competition.
“Coming in as a freshman I was in awe of what it was to be a Division I athlete. Every race it’s like you’re competing for a state championship,” Docherty said. “It is easier now because I have a full year of experience and I know what I am getting into.”
Docherty followed his father into running and then to the University of Iowa. A marketing major, Docherty wouldn’t mind a similar career as his dad, who is an account executive at Nike.
“It seems like the dream job to me,” Kevin said. “You hang out with great people and you get to work for Nike.”
But first, there are numerous races to be run by Docherty wearing black and gold Nike equipment with the letters I-O-W-A on front. It’s a Docherty family tradition.