Hoosier Season Preview (01-07-04)
Head coach Randy Heisler takes on the position as head coach of the 2004 men's track and field team for the first time in his career. Although he worked directly with the women's team for the past five years, head coach Randy Heisler is no stranger to the men's Indiana Track and Field program. Heisler has worked with these male athletes and is still very familiar with their capabilities. For the upcoming 2004 season, Heisler is looking forward to working with them more closely and helping them reach their goals and well as making the team successful.
"It is going to take awhile for the men's team to hear what I am saying and then buy into it, said Heisler. "But, I will use the same attitude I used coaching the women. I don't care about getting second or third in the conference, I want to win. They need to believe that that is why we train everyday."
Heisler recognizes that losing last year's senior class to graduation will be a difficult adjustment, but he is still optimistic. He believes he has quite a few athletes, such as junior All-American Aarik Wilson in the jumps, senior Contrell Ash in sprints, sophomores Sean and John Jefferson in distance, as well as several newcomers that come with an array of experience. These are just a few of the athletes he can utilize to make the program stronger.
In the sprint events, Heisler will look to freshman Stephanos Ioannou, a four-time athlete of the year from at his high school (American Academy) in Larnaca, Cyprus, and returnees Micah Harvey, Kyle Turner and Ash to make up the core of the sprinters.
In addition, Heisler says senior Daniel Martin will add depth in the sprint area as well. "Daniel is another Hoosier who can step up his performances, help the team out and end his career on a good note," said Heisler.
"We want Daniel to win the conference and go to nationals. That is what he needs to do. He has the ability, and I think with the right direction this year, that is a definite possibility. If the senior, who has struggled at times throughout his career, can step up and do that, it would really set the attitude for the rest of the guys."
Indiana will also have the help of red-shirt freshman David Neville, a silver medalist at the Junior Pan- American games and a state champ in the 400-meter in high school.
"David is going to step into the conference and shake things up in probably everything from the 100, 200 and 400-meter. Because of David's presence, Contrell, who was the Big Ten champion two years ago in the 100 and 200-meter, has turned around and used this as a positive motivation."
As far as the relay teams, with Ash, Neville, senior Ryan Sarbinoff and most likely one of the Hollis (Rodney/Russell) brothers, the Hoosiers appear to have a solid 4 x 400-meter relay team.
"We are going to have a very competitive 4 x 400, a team in my opinion that should qualify for the NCAAs. We are heavy as far as athletes in the 400-meter area."
With the loss of Patrick Miller, an Indiana record holder in the javelin, and Adam Judge, an All-American in the shot put, the Hoosiers will seek the help of returnees Ryan Ketchum,Wil Fleming, Mike Minton and Jake Wiseman to fill the void.
"Ketchum had a good freshman year in the shot and discus, and we look for him to take what he did last year and improve even more so this year," said Heisler.
"Fleming, a junior now, has been training very well and we are excited to see what he can do this year. We are hoping that Minton, our senior, does well this season also. He has had an up and down career and battled some injuries with his elbow, but right now Mike is in the best shape he's been in during the five years he has been here. Wiseman is a talented athlete with many capabilities. He was all-conference as a decathlete in his sophomore year and will probably battle for the conference javelin title as well."
Expectations will be high for the Hoosier distance runners with senior Tom Burns and sophomores Sean and John Jefferson returning to the 2004 squad.
"Our distance crew, this year, is a lot like the women's. We have some distance runners that have matured and are ready to take it to the next level," said Heisler.
The Hoosiers will need the Hollis brothers, Rodney and Russell, and the Jefferson brothers, Sean and John, to have a repeat performance from last year.
The Hollis brothers had a great year during the 2003 season in the 800 with both setting school records. Sean and John (Jefferson) also have a year under their belt and will add depth to the team.
"In addition to Burns and the Jeffersons, Eric Redman, we have a lot of athletes that can fill in at a lot of meets for us in the distance area. We are going to expect them to do well in the conference meets, " said Heisler.
With Heisler taking over the reins for the 2004 season, There is a lot of hope for the 2004 season and Heisler is excited about taking on a new position and helping the team make significant strides.
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