Bloomington, Ind. - Indiana redshirt freshman John Jefferson is the 2002 Big Ten Men's Cross Country Freshman of the Year, the league office announced on Wednesday. John and his twin brother, Sean, finished fourth (24:07.7) and sixth (24:13), respectively, at the Nov. 3 Big Ten Championships at the Varsity Cross Country Course in West Lafayette. In the process of helping the No. 20 Hoosiers to a fourth place overall, John and Sean Jefferson became the first IU freshmen since Olympian Bob Kennedy in 1988 to earn all-league laurels in their rookie campaign.
John Jefferson is just the third Hoosier in school history to earn Big Ten Freshman of the Year honors, joining Kennedy (1988) and Marius Bakken (1997). He was also named Big Ten Athlete of the Week on Sept. 23 after winning the 2002 Indiana Intercollegiates title with a time of 25:05.
Jefferson redshirted the 2001 cross country season, but he earned All-America honors in indoor track for his 10th-place finish in the mile at the NCAA Championship. He carried this momentum over to outdoor track, where he finished second in the Big Ten in the 1500 meters.
The Hoosiers, ranked among the NCAA top 20 for the third straight year, are idle this week and return to Purdue on Nov. 16 for the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. A strong performance there propels Indiana to the Nov. 25 NCAA Championships in Terre Haute.