Iowa Freshman Kal Lewis continued his outstanding indoor track season on Friday at Iowa’s state-of-the-art, 200-meter, banked indoor track and field facility.
Following three consecutive weekends of outstanding personal best performances at 600 meters (1:21), 800 meters (1:54) and the mile (4:14), Lewis took his game to a whole new level, finishing fourth in an elite field of Big 10 milers with a very quick 4:07.14 clocking.
His time is his lifetime best by more than seven seconds, and the second fastest indoor time ever by an Iowa freshman, behind teammate Max Murphy’s 4:06.70 last month. This makes Lewis the 11th fastest University of Iowa indoor miler ever.
In an interview before the race, Lewis told the Reporter, “I want to run 4:08, or better in the mile this week. I plan to hit 2:03 or 2:04 at the half and stay close to the leaders for the next quarter and see what I have from there.”
On Feb. 12, he executed his game plan perfectly. His first 800 was 2:04.0 and he was in last place. “Coach Hasenbank told me that every runner in the race has a faster time than you, so sit at the back of the pack,” he said. “Let them do the work until the last 400.”
The very coachable Lewis listened. He stayed patiently in last place going through three quarters of the mile in 3:05.52, still in last with two laps remaining. Halfway through the penultimate lap, with just 300 meters to go, he made his move, passing Wisconsin’s Ansul Fellman (4:09.89) and Iowa teammate Jeff Roberts (4:07.88) to cross the finish line in fourth place at 4:07.14.
The winner, Jackson Sharp of Wisconsin, led from wire to wire running his first sub-4:00 mile with a 3:59.25 Second and third were, Jordan MacIntosh (4:06.11) and Hunter Lucas (4:06.76) of Minnesota.
Lewis, the only freshman in the race, was only one second out of second place.
“Coach’s strategy worked very well,” the young Hawkeye said after the race. “I was comfortable at the back of the pack and felt very good when I made the move with 300 to go. My legs started to give out with 50 meters to go, but I am very pleased with the time.”
The next meet for the Iowa Hawkeyes is the Big 10 Championships on Feb. 25-27 in Geneva, Ohio.