Aug. 13, 2010
The Hoosiers should be very exciting to watch during the 2010 cross country season. Both teams return All-Big Ten selections and 2009 USTFCCCA Cross Country All-Region honorees.
The Hoosier Women
The women return all but one member of an NCAA Championship qualifying team. Leading the charge for the Hoosiers will be senior Sarah Pease, a two-time All-American in the 3,000m steeplechase. In addition to Pease, IU returns seven runners that have advanced to postseason competition in track in events ranging from 800m to 5,000m.
The 2009 season saw the Indiana women advance to the NCAA Championships as a team for the first time since 2004. The Hoosiers return all but one runner from that squad's top five, Wendi Robinson.
Robinson's shoes will be tough to fill, but Pease led the way for the Hoosiers at the 2009 Great Lakes Regional and returns after her 2009-10 season saw her earn All-Region and All-Big Ten nods in cross country and All-America and All-Big Ten honors in track and field. Blanchard also earned All-Region honors in 2009, and she advanced to the NCAA Indoor Championships on the distance medley relay and the NCAA East Preliminary Round in the 5,000m.
Other key returners include 2010 regional qualifiers in the steeplechase Breanne Ehrman and Caitlin Engel, junior Lindsey Hartman, who took third at the Big Ten indoor and outdoor meets in the 800m, and staples in the 2009 top five like sophomore Samantha Ginther and junior Helene DeLone. Ginther was among IU's top four at every meet she ran in her freshman campaign.
The Hoosier Men
The men return every member of a squad that was ranked among the nation's top 20 during the 2009 season. Late season injuries led to a disappointing finish for the Hoosier men, but with no seniors on the 2010 roster, the IU squad is still very young.
The Hoosier men will look to avenge a disappointing end to the 2009 cross country season. The team finished fourth at Big Tens and fourth at the NCAA Regional, missing out on a bid into the NCAA Championships. The IU men return the entire 2009 squad, including three All-Big Ten honorees in cross country and two All-Region selections. Three returning Hoosiers were named Big Ten Runner of the week during the 2009 season.
Leading the way will be 2009 NCAA individual qualifier Andrew Poore. Poore, a junior, backed up his NCAA qualification in cross country with All-America honors during the indoor season and another NCAA trip outdoors. Sophomore Zach Mayhew was the top Hoosier at the 2009 Big Ten meet in cross country and fellow sophomore Andy Bayer had a breakout indoor season that saw him earn two All-America certificates, including a third-place finish in the 3,000m at NCAAs.
The Hoosiers get junior Ben Hubers back and healthy after he redshirted the 2009 season, and 2008 All-Big Ten honoree Cole Hardacre returns as a junior as well. De'Sean Turner enters his junior campaign after advancing to NCAAs during the 2010 indoor and outdoor seasons and becoming an All-American and Big Ten Champion in the steeplechase. Other key returners include redshirt juniors Jacob Laird and Andy Weatherford and redshirt sophomore Nate Morrow.
The Hoosiers will open the season at home with the Indiana Open on Sat., Sept. 11. The Indiana Intercollegiates will be run on Purdue's home course in West Lafayette on Sept. 17, and two weeks later, the Hoosiers will visit Madison, Wis., for a preview of the Big Ten Championship course at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational on Oct. 2.
The Hoosiers will close out the regular season in Arkansas, running at the Chile Pepper Cross Country Festival in Fayetteville on Oct. 17. The Hoosiers will head back to Madison looking to dethrone the host Badgers, who have won 11 straight conference titles on the men's side. The championship season continues with the NCAA Great Lakes Regionals in Rochester, Mich., and concludes at the familiar Indiana State Championship Course in Terre Haute.
For complete coverage of IU cross country, stay tuned to IUHoosiers.com.