Having followed his coach's advice, Kal Lewis, the University of Iowa freshman from Shelter Island, trailed a Big Ten pack for most of the indoor mile race at Iowa's field house Friday before kicking his way to fourth place in a lifetime-best 4 minutes and 7.14 seconds, "a second out of second, and a step out of third," according to Cliff Clark, Shelter Island's running guru.
It was the second-fastest mile time ever for an Iowa freshman and 11th-fastest over all in Hawkeye history.
Crediting Toby Green, Lewis's former cross-country and track coach, with preparing him well, Clark said Lewis's 4:07.14 bettered his previous best, run earlier this season, "by more than 7 seconds," and was 10 seconds faster than the fastest mile the Shelter Islander ran when in high school.
Lewis's plan — inasmuch as the other five runners had better times going in than he — was to trail the pack on the 200-meter banked track until the final two laps. Lewis told Clark that he planned to run the first 800 in 2:03 or 2:04. He hit the halfway point at 2:04 as it turned out. He made his move with 300 meters to go, passing two runners, one of them a teammate, on his way to the aforementioned fourth-place finish.
"He executed his game plan perfectly," said Clark. "Kal has taken his game to a whole new level."