November 2, 2014
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IOWA CITY, Iowa – University of Iowa senior Kevin Lewis raced to a sixth-place finish with a career-best performance in the 8,000-meters at the 100th running of the Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Sunday at the Ashton Cross Country Course. He joins the list of Iowa’s first team All-Big Ten selections, which include Kevin Herd (1992-93) and Micah VanDenend (2006). His time of 23:52 ranks eighth all-time in school history.
“I had a little bit of an injury a few weeks ago, so I didn’t know where I stood coming into today,” Lewis said. “I ran with the team at the beginning and eased my way up throughout the race. I was worried near the finish because I didn’t want to get caught and I saw a Penn State runner right behind me. I was able to make one last burst for sixth place. I am very happy with that finish.”
Every runner in Iowa’s lineup for both men and women posted career best times. The men placed eighth (191) and the women finished 11th (300).
Senior Ben Witt was the second finisher for the Hawkeyes, crossing the finish line in 34th place with a time of 24:24. He was followed by sophomore Kevin Docherty, who finished 44th in 24:39. Sophomore Anthony Gregorio clocked a time of 24:46 to finish 50th while freshman Michael Melchert finished 64th in 25:06 to conclude Iowa’s scoring.
“I was thrilled to see where Lewis was at the 6K mark,” said UI head coach Layne Anderson. “Kevin Docherty had a great race and Ben Witt had a good run. We were right there with Minnesota and Illinois and I believe we can run with those teams. All-in-all, it was a nice step forward.”
Sophomore Katie Adams led Iowa in the women’s 6,000-meter race. She crossed the finish line in 21:21 to finish 50th overall. Sophomore Samantha Zishka (60) was Iowa’s next finisher, clocking a personal best of 21:29. Sophomore Carolyn Newhouse (66th/21:40), junior Jocelyn Todd (72/21:47), and sophomore Courtney Martin (81/ 22:02) rounded out Iowa’s scoring.
“I was really happy with my race,” Adams said. “I felt that burn near the end and I knew I raced hard the whole race. I went out aggressive and stuck with that pace. I focused more on how I felt than the pace and I felt really strong and comfortable. I trusted in my training and I went in thinking we had prepared well for this. It came together for us today.”
Malachy Schrobilgen of Wisconsin and Michigan State’s Leah O’Connor were crowned Big Ten Champions, each crossing the finish line in record-breaking fashion. Schrobilgen and O’Connor broke course records set by former schoolmates at the 2004 Championships. Schrobilgen completed the course in 23:35 to break the previous record set by Simon Bairu (23:45), while O’Connor ran a time of 19:26.38, shattering the 20:33 record of Danette Doetzel.
Michigan State won the women’s title for the third time in five years, and Wisconsin won its 47th title on the men’s side.
Iowa returns to action Nov. 14 at the NCAA Midwest Regional in Peoria, Illinois. “The team is putting its heart and soul into the training and workouts; we just have to have that confidence on race day.”