Harriers aim to bounce back in regionals


Brooklynn Kascel

Junior Sam McElhiney and Senior Daniel Huff battle towards the finish line during the men's 6k race on Friday, Sep. 4, 2015 at the Ashton Cross Country Course in Iowa City, Iowa. (The Daily Iowan/Brooklynn Kascel)

Adam Hensley, [email protected]

The Iowa men’s cross-country team aims to bounce back from a disappointing Big Ten meet today.

The Hawkeyes will travel to Lawrence, Kansas, for the Midwest Regional Championship.

Iowa comes off of a lackluster 10th-place finish competing against Big Ten foes. That meet is in the past, and runners are hungry for more.

“Clearly, everyone was disappointed coming off a bad Big Ten race,” freshman Daniel Soto said. “We’ve really focused on having a short-term memory and forgetting what happened but also using it as motivation.”

Six of the seven Hawkeye runners finished outside the top 40 in route to a 265-point performance, 202 points behind first-place Michigan.

Sophomore Michael Melchert was Iowa’s lone bright spot in the meet, finishing 17th.

Aside from placing in the top 20, he ran a time of 23:57.5, the 10th best time in school history.

Melchert views this not only as a major accomplishment but also a momentum builder going into the second championship meet of the season.

“That [personal record] was a huge confidence builder in terms of my fitness,” he said.

While Melchert had a successful Big Ten meet, other Hawkeye runners struggled.

Head coach Layne Anderson knows his runners have the potential for great things. It is just a matter of running as they practice, the coach said.

“[We need to] be the team on race day that we have been every workout,” he said.

The key to a successful meet, in both the coaches’ and runners’ eyes, lies in running as a pack.

“If we all work together, we will be successful,” Ben Anderson said. “When we run together is when we execute the best.”

Ben Anderson’s mindset, as well as others on the team, all coincides with the theme of running as one. When Iowa executes this plan, the results are almost always successful.

Prior to the Big Ten meet, Iowa finished third at the Bradley Pink Classic, and three Hawkeyes finished in the top 11. Melchert placed third, Anthony Gregorio 10th, and Ben Anderson 11th. Each runner had a personal-best time.

However, a trend has developed over this season.

Iowa’s finishes mimic a roller coaster. It finished fourth (out of four teams), second, 20th, third, and then 10th at the Big Ten meet.

One of Iowa’s strong suits throughout this season has been the ability to bounce back. Some teams find themselves in a downward spiral after unsuccessful meets and don’t remain focused.

While the Hawks have had some rough meets, they have followed up each of those with a respectable performance.

Iowa enters a field including five teams that rank in the top 30 nationally.

“It will be a challenge, but one we are prepared for at this stage in the season,” Layne Anderson said.

While the competition continues to climb, the Hawkeyes aim to run as one and not lose confidence.

Layne Anderson has a message for his runners entering one of the toughest meets of the season.

“Compete with confidence,” he said.

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