NCAA Regionals Preview (11-14-03)
Bloomington, IN - This Week: The No. 11 Indiana men's cross country team and the IU women's cross country team continue the all-important November trek this Saturday at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute.
The men's 10K race gets underway at 11 a.m., followed by the women's 8K at 12:15 p.m.
Last Week: Both Indiana teams were idle last weekend.
Familiar Territory: Both Indiana teams are well-acquainted with the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute. And according to IU men's coach Robert Chapman, both team will use this to maximum benefit.
"We certainly know the Terre Haute course well," Chapman said. "I think it is perhaps even more of an advantage to stay in our own beds and minimize the travel."
Each team competed in the Indiana State Invite on Oct. 4. Since only four IU men's runners participated that day, no team score was kept. The women's B team placed fifth out of 13 squads.
Both teams enjoyed considerable success in Terre Haute in 2002. The women defeated five ranked teams at the 2002 Pre-NCAA meet to earn their own spot in the national rankings for the first time in 13 years. The IU women closed the 2002 season with a 14th place standing at the NCAA Championship, the best national finish by a Hoosier squad since 1990.
In 2002, the Indiana men took fourth at the 35-team NCAA meet. Then-freshmen John and Sean Jefferson each finished among the top 20 in that race. Indiana also earned its second team appearance in three years at the NCAA Championships, finishing 25th.
National Rankings: The Indiana men's cross country team is ranked 11th in the Nov. 4 Apple Raceberry Jam/Mondo NCAA Division I Men's Cross Country Poll. This is the Hoosiers' highest national ranking since they finished 10th at the 1987 NCAA Cross Country Championships. The Hoosiers have been ranked among the nation's top 25 programs each of the last five seasons.
Big Ten Recap: For the second straight year, Indiana was one of two Big Ten teams to record a top four finish in both the men's and women's league cross country championships at Forest Akers Golf Course. The No. 19 Indiana men used strong performances from fifth-year seniors Chad Andrews (ninth) and Chris Powers (10th) to take third overall in the 8k race, while Audrey Giesler finished ninth individually to help the Hoosier women to a fourth place finish in the women's 6K team standings. The No. 10 Michigan women won the league title, while the No. 7 Wolverine men finished second in the men's race.
This year's Big Ten Championships carry an historical significance for both Hoosier programs. For the IU women, this marks the first time since 1989-90 that the Hoosiers have had back-to-back top four finishes. IU won consecutive league crowns in 1989-90. The Indiana men placed among the top four for the fourth year in a row, marking the first time since 1970-73 that IU has placed among the top four for four straight years. Indiana capped that four-year run with back-to-back league titles in 1972 and 1973.
Both Indiana teams took a similar approach to this year's meet - start conservatively and work to make up ground in the second half. It paid obvious dividends. Giesler was Indiana's top finisher and ninth overall at 21:22.9. Giesler was followed by sophomore Kelly Siefker who was 31st overall at 22:09.4, followed by Mindy Peterson (34th, 22:13.7), Larra Overton (32nd, 22:24.6), freshman Kristin Whitezell (48th, 22:32), Julie Shields (58th, 22:50.8) and Heidi Crowley (67th, 23:05.1).
"We made our move with about 1.5K to go," IU women's coach Judy Wilson said. "Mindy Peterson moved past some people with about 800m to go. Larra Overton went out relaxed and just moved up in the end."
According to Wilson, this is just a sign of the Hoosiers' potential.
"We need Mindy, Kristin and Julie to run well at regionals for us to have a shot (at an at-large NCAA championship bid)," wilson said. "Even still, finishing ahead of (No. 18) Wisconsin today will help us in the rankings."
A pair of fifth-year seniors - Andrews and Powers - paced the Indiana men to its third place finish. Andrews placed ninth in 24:31, while Powers was a little more than one second behind at 24:32.3 Sophomores Eric Redman (19th, 24:42.4) and Sean Jefferson (21st, 24:46.7) also ran well. Tom Burns (31st, 25:06.5), Charlie Koeppen (32nd, 25:07.9) and Stephen Haas (36th, 25:15.9) rounded out the Hoosier lineup.
IU men's coach Robert Chapman eagerly awaits the Nov. 15 NCAA Great Lakes Regional meet in Terre Haute.
"We have 22 days until the NCAA Meet, so we have to shift our focus on that," he said. "Of course, we have to qualify for the meet first, which means we need a good performance at the regional meet.
"Our guys ran a solid race. We started out conservative and then made our move. I am really proud of our guys. It was especially nice to see two fifth-year guys do so well in their last Big Ten meet."
Indiana returns to action Nov. 15 at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute.
Past NCAA Regional Performances: Here is a look at how Indiana has fared in the Big Ten since 1998.
Year M W
1998 --- 20th
1999 9th 9th
2000 4th 4th
2001 7th 12h
2002 4th 4th
Sean Jefferson - Big Ten Co-AOW: Indiana sophomore Sean Jefferson is the Big Ten Men's Cross Country Co-Athlete of the Week for the period ending Oct. 5. Jefferson shares the honor with Michigan's Nick Willis.
This marks the second time in Jefferson's career that he has earned the league's top weekly honor. He received his first award on Oct. 9, 2002 after his fifth place effort at the 20-team Indiana State Invitational helped the Hoosiers to a second place team finish.
Jefferson was a 2002 All-Big Ten selection in cross country, qualified for the 2003 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in the 5000m and finished 11th in the 1500m at the 2003 USA Track and Field Championships. He is one of seven athletes in IU history to break 14 minutes for 5000m in track.
In an 11-team Murray Keatinge Invitational field that included No. 1 Stanford and perennial NCAA Championship qualifying teams Butler and Florida, Jefferson was first for Indiana and fifth overall in a career-best 24:01 for 8000m. This helped the No. 19 Hoosiers to a third place team finish.
National Polls: Here is a look at the most recent national polls
Nov. 4 Apple Raceberry Jam Men's National Poll
4 Iona College
5 Northern Arizona
8 Air Force
13 Ohio State
14 North Carolina State
15 Cal Poly San Luis Obispo
17 Colorado State
18 Notre Dame
22 Central Michigan
23 Oklahoma State
24 Florida State
25 Arizona State
26 Texas A&M
28 Eastern Michigan
29 William & Mary
Nov. 4 Apple Raceberry Jam
Women's National Poll
1 Stanford (10)
2 Brigham Young (3)
3 North Carolina
4 Notre Dame
5 North Carolina State
10 Northern Arizona
11 Arizona State
12 Michigan State
13 Wake Forest
17 Penn State
22 Colorado State
23 UC Santa Barbara
26 Boston College
28 Florida State
29 Ball State
30 Texas Christian
-- West Virginia
-- William & Mary
Other Teams Receiving Votes: Texas Tech 14, Toledo 13, Indiana 6, Georgia 6, Virginia 6, Wisconsin 5, Washington 4, Virginia Tech 4, West Virginia 2.
IU In The Polls: Here is a breakdown of where the Indiana cross country teams have fared in the polls:
PS 17 18
Sept. 22 16 21
Sept. 30 19 32
Oct. 7 24 34
Oct. 14 25 ---
Oct. 21 19 ---
Nov. 4 11 ARV
Did You Know?
Judy Wilson coached Bloomington South to its first-ever Indiana state meet appearance and also coached the boys' 400m state champion.
In less than two years under Wilson, Indiana's Becky Obrecht (34:32) and Monica Hostetler (34:47) and Connecticut's Danyelle Wood (34:09) and Allison Ciosek (34:48) have each completed the 10K in less than 35 minutes.
Indiana's 2002 cross country team was one of the most improved teams in the nation, finishing 14th overall and having five of its top seven runners turn in personal-best performances.
Indiana was one of only three schools (along with Arkansas and Texas) to have a men's track and field athlete qualify for the 2003 Outdoor NCAA's in each of the 1,500m, 3,000m steeplechase and 5,000m events.
With three distance qualifiers for the 2003 Outdoor NCAAs, Indiana was tied for the fourth-most nationally, trailing only Arkansas, Stanford, and Northern Arizona.
In 2002, Indiana was one of only four programs in the nation (with Colorado, Arkansas, and Stanford) to have four separate athletes post times of 14:10 or better for 5,000m - and all four were either freshman or sophomores in eligibility.
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