Bloomington, IN The No. 24 Indiana mens cross country team took five of the top seven spots en route to its second Indiana Intercollegiates title in three years Friday afternoon at the IU Cross Country Course.
Head coach Robert Chapmans goal was for his teams last meet in the month of September was to set a consistent tone for October and November competition.
The big thing I think it does is gives us confidence going into the two races at Indiana State, Chapman said, referring to the Oct. 5 ISU Invitational and the Oct. 19 Pre-NCAA meet. Indiana State is also hosting the Nov. 25 NCAA Championships. I would like to think that even off of strength and talent, we could do well there, even if we aren't making a huge push for those meets.
Due to severe rainstorms and the threat of tornadoes, including two that touched down in nearby communities Ellettsville and Greenwood, several teams were unable to make the trip to Bloomington for the meet.
Despite the inclement weather, the Hoosiers certainly showed their depth on Friday. Redshirt freshman John Jefferson was IUs top performer for the second straight meet, turning in an 8K time of 28:46. His twin brother, Sean, was two spots behind him at 28:48, followed by junior Bart Phariss at 28:51. Sophomore Tom Burns (sixth, 28:58) and redshirt freshman Eric Redman (seventh, 29:00) rounded out Indianas scoring. Nathan Gooden (10th, 29:06), Nathan Purcell (11th, 29:06) and Kurtis George (12th, 29:07).
The big thing for today was to work on an aspect of the race that will help in other key races down the road. With four freshmen and two sophomores among our top seven right now, these guys needed to get something out of this race that educates them on what they need to do to run with the best teams in the country the next time out, Chapman said. I think we accomplished that.
Indiana hopes to build upon this when it heads to Terre Haute for the ISU Invitational on Oct. 5.