Q&A with Coach Chapman (11-14-03)
Bloomington, Ind. - As the No. 11 Indiana cross country team prepares for the Nov. 15 NCAA Great Lakes Regional in Terre Haute, Hoosier head coach Robert Chapman sat down with iuhoosiers.com to preview the meet.
Please outline the three keys to your respective teams clinching an NCAA berth this Saturday?
"It looks like for us, the math is pretty simple. We should get an at-large bid to the NCAA's, as long as we beat two of Miami, Butler, and Eastern Michigan. If two of those three teams were to beat us, we would be "blocked" and would not get in. So during the race, we'll need to be conscious of where those three teams are, but still run our race."
How big of an advantage is it to have so much racing experience in Terre Haute, especially in big meets?
"We certainly know the Terre Haute course well. I think it is perhaps even more of an advantage to stay in our own beds and minimize the travel."
How would you describe your team's overall disposition this week? Is it where you want it to be? If so, how do you get it there?
"Things with the team right now are good. We know what we have to do, and everyone's head appears to be in the right place."
Based on training over the last few weeks as well as most recent competition, who is the runner to watch, or who are the runners to watch for your team this Saturday?
"For the Regional, the focus is less on getting certain individuals to step up, and more on having the whole group run a solid effort to get the team into the nationals. We view this more as a qualifying heat rather than a 'final' race."
What is the No. 1 thing that your teams learned from last year's NCAA meet that could pay off this year?
"Just having NCAA Championship experience under our belt is huge. We've got 9 athletes on this year's team with NCAA championship experience in XC, compared to just three last season. They are a veteran group, and having that experience has them confident and knowing what to expect. I think that will have a huge impact on their performance."
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