Men's Cross Country Team Ready For NCAA Championship
Indiana Receives At-Large Bid To NCAA Championship
After a strong performance at the NCAA Regional on Nov. 13, the men's cross country team received an at-large bid to the 2004 Division I NCAA Cross Country Championship.
The 17th-ranked men's team took home fifth place in the NCAA Great Lakes Regional. Sean Jefferson placed second overall and twin brother John Jefferson placed fifth (30:24.3) to garner all-region honors. Out of the 29 teams in the Regional, Indiana was the only squad to have two individuals place in the top five.
Indiana State University will host the 2004 NCAA Division I Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, Nov. 22, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course located at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's race will begin at 11 a.m. eastern time followed by the men's race at 12:15 p.m.
Sean Jefferson, who has led the Hoosiers in every race during the 2004 campaign, ran a time of 30:14.3, and was just edged out by Michigan's Nate Brannen who won the Regional in a time of 30:10.9
Twin brother John Jefferson came up strong in what was arguably his best race of the season. John finished with a time of 30:24.3 to place in the top five. IU was the only team in the regional to have two runners from the same team place in the top five.
Tom Burns finished 31st overall in a time of 31:03.6, followed closely by Eric Redman who ran in a time of 31:10.8 to place in 37th. Stephen Haas placed 41st in 31:21.2, while Charlie Koeppen placed 47th in 31:27.5.
IU has had two runners named All-American four times during their careers. Jim Spivey was the first to do it, earning the honor from 1978, 1979, 1980 and 1982. Bob Kennedy repeated the feat, garnering honors in 1988, 1989, 1990 and 1992.
IU head coach Robert Chapman has guided the Hoosiers to three consecutive NCAA appearances, and four appearances in the last five years. With Chapman's first appearance in 2000, IU snapped a 12-year absence at the NCAA Championship.
The team made its third appearance in four years, enjoying a No. 12 ranking heading into the finals competition. With the 12th-place finish, the Hoosiers definitely made an improvement from 2002's 25th-place finish. Sean Jefferson led the Hoosiers, placing 19th overall and shaving nearly 43 seconds time off the time he ran at the pre-NCAA on Nov. 15, 2003. He finished with a time of 29:57.7. Jefferson had the highest finish for an IU individual since 1992 when Bob Kennedy was the individual champion.
Not only did the Hoosiers mark their best finish since 1987 when they placed 10th overall and have the best finish under head coach Robert Chapman, but two Hoosiers, Jefferson and senior Chris Powers also became All-Americans, . Powers finished 44th overall with a time of 30:20.6
The Hoosiers have won the NCAA Championship on three occasions. IU was tabbed national champions in 1938 and 1940, while sharing the national championship in 1942. The Hoosiers have also finished runner-up on two occasions - 1952 and 1953.
Individually, IU has had three NCAA champions, with the last being Bob Kennedy who won the event in 1992 and 1988. Fred Wilt is the Hoosiers' only other national champion, winning the event in 1941.
Two weeks later at the NCAA Great Lakes Regional, the duo improved as Sean placed second and John placed fifth to earn all-region accolades. The top 20 competitors earned a spot on the all-region team.
"To simply make the NCAA's with that number of scholarships and walk-on's is an amazing feat, let alone the fact of being ranked 10th in the nation at this point in the season," said Chapman. "It is a remarkable accomplishment."
In comparison, having that few of scholarships on such a successful team can be compared to a football team being ranked top ten in the country, but only having approximately 30 scholarships.
The Hoosiers recorded their first second-place showing since the 2000 season and it also marked the sixth consecutive year IU has finished in the top five at the championship.
Sean Jefferson's time of 24:30 on the 8K course bested brother John by one second (24:31), as the duo earned second-team honors. The brothers were the only two on the Hoosiers squad to record sub-five minute splits as both were on a pace of 4:56.
Senior Tom Burns also performed well, finishing in 19th with a time of 24:49. Junior Stephen Haas finished just behind Burns in 24th with a time of 24:58. Rounding out the Hoosiers was junior Eric Redman, finishing 45th in 25:28, while William Coale placed 80th in a time of 27:23.
IU tallied 192 points to earn a spot among the nation's top-20 teams. Joining the Hoosiers in the rankings are fellow Big Ten members No. 1 Wisconsin (418), No. 13 Michigan (237), No. 15 Minnesota (209), No. 23 Ohio State (117), No. 25 Iowa (93) and No. 28 Michigan State.
Most recently, Sean and John Jefferson placed eighth and ninth, respectively, to lead Indiana to a runner-up finish at the 2004 Big Ten Championship held on the Ashton Cross Country on the campus of the University of Iowa. With the results, the twin brothers earned All-Big Ten Honors for the second time in their careers.
Chapman guided the men's cross country team to a 12th-place finish at the 2003 NCAA Championships, mentoring a pair of All-Americans in Sean Jefferson and Chris Powers. The 2003 team's finish was the best for an Indiana squad since the 1987 team took 10th. Sean Jefferson finished 19th overall, the best finish for a Hoosier since Bob Kennedy in 1992.
IU has been nationally ranked in the USCCCA Top 25 Poll every year for the past four years, and has posted three top-25 NCAA Championship finishes during that time.
During his tenure at Indiana, Chapman has also had individual success in track, coaching three Big Ten Champions, an NCAA Champion (Sean Jefferson, indoor mile, 2004), a USATF Junior National Champion (Jeff Zeha, 3000m Steeplechase, 2000), and a USATF Senior National Champion (Tom Chorny, 3000m Steeplechase, 2001). In six short years, athletes in his charge have earned a total of eight NCAA All-American certificates.
Chapman has long been a familiar face in Bloomington. His development began in the fall of 1991 as a graduate assistant for IU's cross country and track teams, where he was mentored by Sam Bell. Chapman earned his master of science in exercise physiology during this time, graduating in the spring of 1992.
He then left IU to be the head coach for men's and women's cross country at Sierra College in Rocklin, California. Having just turned 23 years old, Chapman held the honor of being the youngest collegiate head coach in America at the time.
At Sierra, Chapman's impact was felt immediately. Both the men's and women's cross country squads qualified for the 1992 California Cross Country Championship, the first time that feat had occurred at Sierra in nine years.
Chapman returned to Indiana in the fall of 1993 as a volunteer assistant coach. Just as important, Chapman spent his next three years working toward a PhD in human performance and exercise physiology.
He earned his Ph. D in 1996, and took a position as a research fellow at the Institute for Exercise and Environmental Medicine in Dallas, Texas. While conducting research centered on limitations to performance in elite athletes, Chapman served as project coordinator for USA Track and Field's and the U.S. Olympic Committee's funded research on the "live high-train low" altitude training model.
In 1997 Chapman recruited 27 of America's best-emerging elite distance athletes to participate in the most extensive research to date on the effects of altitude training on distance runners.
Chapman's research on exercise physiology and limitations to performance has been published in top medical journals, such as the Journal of Applied Physiology, Respiration Physiology and Medicine and Science in Sports and Exercise.
He has authored a chapter on altitude for the medical textbook Exercise and Sports Science, as well as a position paper on altitude training for USA Track and Field's Sports Science Committee. Considered as one of America's foremost authorities on altitude training and applied exercise science for the elite distance runner, Chapman has made formal presentations at a wide range of scientific meetings and coaching seminars.
After running cross country and track for two seasons at the University of Nevada-Reno, he completed his bachelor's of science in secondary education-chemistry in 1991 from the University of Nevada-Las Vegas.
Chapman, his wife Susan and their six-year old son, Ben, reside in Bloomington.
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