The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

The independent newspaper of the University of Iowa community since 1868

The Daily Iowan

Men’s cross country set for Regionals

After a week’s worth of training and after competing fairly well at Big Tens, the Iowa men’s cross-country squad is prepared for regional, set to take place in Peoria, Illinois, today.

Seven runners are scheduled compete: sophomores Ben Anderson, Kevin Docherty, Nate Ferree, and Anthony Gregorio, freshman Michael Melchert, and seniors Kevin Lewis and Ben Witt.

The squad last competed at the Big Ten championships, in which it finished eighth. Following the meet, the team prepped for the regional meet both indoor and outdoor. Iowa head coach Layne Anderson is confident about his runners’ fitness level after a week’s worth of workouts.

“We’re in good shape, and the guys look fast. That’s a good sign,” Anderson said. “Our bodies feel good, and right now we just want the gun to go off and work in our packs.”

According to the ranking, the squad is ranked eighth in the Midwest Region. The team is just shy of Big Ten opponents Illinois (6) and Minnesota (7), which both finished ahead of the squad at the Big Ten meet.

Anderson is looking forward to his runners competing against the same fierce competition.

“We’re right there with Minnesota and Illinois so we have to run our best,” the head coach said.

Lewis, who finished sixth at the conference meet along with being named first team All-Big Ten, has one goal for the regional: qualifying for the NCAA meet. To qualify, the senior must be a top-three finisher who is not apart of a qualifying team. Last season in the regional, he was an All-Region honoree with a 15th-place finish. He said he would be dissatisfied if he doesn’t qualify for nationals.

“This is my last opportunity to qualify for the NCAA championships, so if I don’t, I’ll be very disappointed with myself,” Lewis said.

The Ottumwa native believes this week’s workouts haven’t been too intense, but he said he feels fresh.

“I’ve felt fine,” he said. “We haven’t done any crazy hard workouts this week. Everything’s been controlled.”

Ben Anderson, who finished 68th at the conference meet, will treat the meet as any of the squad’s other meets .

“We have to approach regional like every other meet so we don’t over-think it,” he said. “We’ve got to get out there and execute to the best of our ability.”

The sophomore hopes the squad will carry the momentum it has from practice into the meet.

“We’ve been working out really well in practice,” he said. “Everyone has been doing what needs to be done and feeling good.”

The Clive native may not have finished where he wanted to at the conference meet, but he plans to make up ground, in what could be his last meet of the season.

“My goal is to end my sophomore year on a high note,” he said. “We have worked hard, and I am looking to help this team anyway I can.

Follow @marioxwilliams on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa men’s cross-country team.

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