November 20, 2000
Indiana Mens Cross Country Makes History
Hammond Paves Future for Womens Program
Ames, Iowa--The Indiana mens cross country team has had a great deal to celebrate during the 2000 season: jumping into the national polls, grabbing a 2nd place Big Ten finish (three places higher than in 99) for their highest finish in two decades, honoring two All-Big Ten athletes, having their coach named Big Ten Coach of the Year, and becoming the first IU team to qualify for the NCAA Cross Country Championships since 1987.
Yet, the mens team never let all the hype go to their heads and maintained focus heading into the championship race this afternoon. Today, they can finally look back at what theyve accomplished following their final competition, in which they finished 17th out of 31 of the best teams in the nation, five places higher than what they were ranked heading into the race. Although the men felt they could have finished higher, having such a young group experience the big race early provides a stepping stone to a productive future.
Senior Aaron Gillen finished in the top 50 at 47th (36 points). Gillens time of 31:17.8 beat his last time on the Ames course (Pre-NCAAs-31:53.5) by 38 seconds. Sophomores Chad Andrews and Chris Powers were again consistent in their following as Andrews took 83rd (64 points) in 31:38.1 while Powers took 138th (109 points) in 32:02.4. Andrews shattered his Pre-NCAA time on the Ames course by 40 seconds while Powers overpowered his past performance by 12 seconds. Sophomore/freshman Nathan Purcell responded to the environment and scored for the first time taking fourth for his team in 163rd (131 points) with a career best 10K of 32:17.7 compared to his Pre-NCAA B race time of 32:53.6. Fellow 99 redshirt freshman Jeff Zeha closed the scoring three seconds later in 32:20.2 for 171st (139 points). Zeha was over one minute faster than his last time on the same course (Pre-NCAAs-33:46.8). Taking sixth was sophomore/freshman Bart Phariss who took 205th (32:39.9) for his second best 10K while junior Kevin Chandler took seventh in 207th (32:41.3), an amazing improvement compared to Pre-NCAAs in which he ran 34:18.6. The Hoosiers finished with a total of 479 points behind Air Force with 467 points.
"Finishing seventeenth in the nation is a huge step up for our program. We had talked at the beginning of the year, set out some goals for ourselves, and being a top 20 team in the nation was the bar that we set. When I first told them, they looked at me like I was crazy, but as the season went on, we kept working hard, we started beating people and to come in and finish where we did at a time where we were coming from nowhere is amazing," said head coach Robert Chapman of his team.
Chapman added about senior Aaron Gillen, who has led the team in every scored meet this year, "I'm really proud of Aaron Gillen, who was just a few spots out of All-American status. The race results don't show it, but he was actually one of three guys to take a fall during the race. He came through, however, and gave a really gutsy performance to lead our team, as he always has."
For the women, sophomore Allyson Hammond became what head coach Judy Bogenschutz has been wanting on her team: someone with the experience of running with the wolves in the race which represents the level that all teams aspire to reach. Hammond ran one minute and six seconds faster than her last time on this course at Pre-NCAAs to take 48th with a 6K time of 21:33.9, the second best of her career.
Shes a bit disappointed. Its extremely competitive here and there were girls whom she had beaten at regionals who are now All-Americans because she went out a bit too conservative. We talked about going out conservative for the first 2K, which was hilly, but then moving up by the 3K, yet her surge was late in the last 1000 meters. Its a learning experience. However, it is a tremendous help to have someone with her experience on the team now and her teammates were here and they are hungry to be in the race. What Allyson overcame mentally to make it here sets a standard for our current and future team that we will strive to match.
To see full results go to ncaachampionships.com