West Lafayette, IN - The No. 20 Indiana mens and womens cross country teams each took one step closer to the NCAA championships with respective fourth place finishes at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships on Nov. 16 at the Varsity Cross Country Course in West Lafayette, Ind. The top two teams from each region automatically advance to the nationals, and Hoosier mens coach Robert Chapman feels the Great Lake Regions strength is to both IUs squads advantage. The complete NCAA Championship field will be announced on Monday, with the championships slated for Nov. 25 at the Vern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute.
If you look at it on paper, there are seven or eight teams from our region who could qualify, Chapman said. Considering that we were one point behind third-place Central Michigan bodes very well for us.
The IU men are hoping for their second NCAA appearance in the last three years, while the women are one of the most improved programs in the nation. Indiana finished third at the Big Ten Womens Cross Country Championships after taking ninth in 2001, and the fourth place finish Saturday represents an eight spot improvement from last year.
Both Chapman and womens coach Judy Wilson have said all season that the No. 3, 4 and 5 spots are the most crucial for their respective teams, and that certainly held true at the regionals.
We went into the race fresh and rested, emotionally ready, Chapman said. We have this date circled on our calendars a for a long time. We figured that we could give up a spot or two at the Big Tens in order to gain some momentum for this meet, and it appears to have worked.
Big Ten Freshman of the Year John Jefferson led Indiana with a fourth place finish (30:41.5) in the 10K race. Twin brother Sean, also an all-league honoree, was 15th (30:57.7). Junior Bart Phariss came in 23rd at 31:17.9, with Eric Redman (38th, 31:37.4) and Tom Burns (44th, 31:45.9) rounding out IUs scoring.
We started out conservative, saving our energy for the last half of the race, Chapman said. I think we caught some people that way. If you go out too quick, then you won't have fuel left for the last part of the race.
Mindy Peterson was Indianas top womens finisher, crossing the 6K line in 21:42. Junior Audrey Giesler was four places behind at 21:46.8, while freshman Jessica Gall, a West Lafayette native, was 22nd at 22:01.6. Classmate Lindsay Hattendorf was 40th at 22:27.1, and junior Becky Obrecht rounded out the IU scoring (43rd, 22:27.1)
Top 10 Womens Teams (31 teams overall) - 1. Notre Dame 63; 2. Michigan 107; 3. Michigan State 120; 4. Indiana 129; 5. Ball State 136; Wisconsin 148; 7. Marquette 156; 8. Toledo 160; 9. Miami-Ohio 230; 10. Butler 254
Top 10 Mens Teams (31 teams overall) - 1. Wisconsin 57; 2. Eastern Michigan 70; 3. Central Michigan 123; 4. Indiana 124; 5. Ohio State 138; 6. Michigan 142; 7. Butler 145; 8. Michigan 208; 8. Notre Dame 208; 10. Purdue 290