Women's Track

    IU Looks for Improvements in 2005

    Go Hoosiers! Randy Heisler, Director of Track and Field, will look for a number of key returnees to lead the way in 2005.
    Go Hoosiers!
    Randy Heisler, Director of Track and Field, will look for a number of key returnees to lead the way in 2005.
    Go Hoosiers!
    January 3, 2004

    BLOOMINGTON, Ind--The IU women's track and field team will have a new approach entering the 2005 season, in hopes to make definite improvement from its fifth-place finish at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and its seventh-place finish at the Big Ten Outdoors in 2004.

    "We are a very young team once again," said head coach Randy Heisler. "But, we are hoping that the athletes that we do return will step up throughout the year and show us something."

    Heisler believes with almost the entire team returning as well as some talented freshmen, the Hoosiers will have the elements to become one of the top teams in the conference.

    Sophomore Jenna Weinke returns to the squad and will help the Hoosiers in the discus and the hammer throws. Lindsey Heisler will also be back, competing in the javelin.

    " We hope that both of these girls turn the corner in their events," said Heisler. "They both have the skill, they just need to put it to use and help us out at the conference level."

    IU's top thrower last year, Andrea Dalla Rosa had surgery on her foot during the off-season. Heisler says there is a high probability they will redshirt Dalla Rosa. While the Hoosiers have a few experienced returnees, Heisler also noted that the throws is their biggest recruiting area on the women's side.

    The pole vault will be one of the Hoosiers' strongest events as three vaulters with at least two years of experience return for the upcoming season. Emily Tharpe, IU's record holder for both indoor and outdoor in this event, will be back and ready to compete after taking last year's outdoor season off due to injury. Ellison Tipton and Ashley Stinton will be major assets at the conference level. They finished fourth and eighth, respectively at the 2004 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. The Hoosiers will need repeat performances from the duo in order to help them become a top team in the conference.

    The jumps will be yet another strong point for the Hoosiers throughout the 2005 season. Despite losing Lauren Chesnut, the school record holder in the triple jump, the void will be filled in the long jump and high jump. IU returns sophomore Lorian Price, a talented athlete that made vast improvements throughout her first year as Hoosier. Price posted the second-best mark on the team last season in the long jump (5.90m/19-4.25) and will look to improve even more this year. While Ara Towns is widely known as a sprinter, Heisler said the Hoosiers might use Towns in the long jump as well.

    "Ara is a very good long jumper," said Heisler. " She jumped two years ago for us and definitely has the potential to help us out in this area."

    Incoming freshman and 2004 Indiana state champion in the long jump, Zakiya Robinson will also be a major factor in the jumps. Heisler expects Robinson to step in and make an immediate impact. Christina Archibald also a member of IU's volleyball team, will be back in action for IU and can certainly be a major asset in the high jump competition. Archibald had a great showing at the outdoor conference meet, as she earned second team All-Big Ten after placing second with a personal best clearance of 1.78m (5-10).

    "If Christina is healthy and is able to come out and start training right after volleyball season, she can be one of the best jumpers in the country," Heisler commented. "It's just a matter of being able to get her healthy, recovered and in a jumping mode within the window of time we have here."

    Jean Schaffer is another experienced returner for the Hoosiers.

    " She started out really well last year. She was jumping her personal best consistently at every meet. We are looking for her to get better and be more consistent throughout the season. "

    Finally, sophomore Sarah Gilleran could be a lot of help in the high jump.

    "I think it took her a little while to get used to our training, but she should have a grasp of it and be able to contribute to the team," said Heisler.

    The sprints are one area on the women's team where IU is fortunate enough to return almost everyone from last season. Ara Towns who redshirted the outdoor season, is one of the best sprinters in the Big Ten conference. Towns was the lone Hoosier female to compete at the NCAA Indoor Championships, where she earned All-American status after a 12th place in the 60-meter dash.

    "Ara will be looked upon to have a great senior season," Heisler said.

    Expectations will be high for returners Stacey Clausing and Michele Huber who both had a good season competing in the 200 and 400-meters.

    "They both had a year to get adjusted to our training style. They were on the verge of going to the next level last season, but this is the year where we are really looking for them to step up and really show us something."

    Every member of the Big Ten Champion 4x400-meter relay (Clausing, Huber, LaDonna Ray and Charlene Maddox) returns for '05, which means the Hoosiers will be strong in the 400-meters and have a good shot at winning the title again. Heisler also noted that Ray could be a huge factor at the conference level in the 600-meter indoor and the 800-meter outdoor. Sophomores Courtney Johnson and Price are both coming off successful campaigns in which they qualified for regionals in the 100-meter hurdles.

    In addition, Johnson was also one of the conference's top hurdlers. She finished second at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships and the fastest time of her career, 13.54, ranks fourth in the IU record books.

    "With Lorian, Courtney and new additions Kyndall Carr and Brandi Huddleston we are going to be better. This will be one of our strengths this year."

    Jessica Gall, Kelly Siefker, Kristin Whitezell, Larra Overton and Mindy Peterson are all experienced runners that Heisler pointed out as key returnees for the 2005 season in the distance category. Gall was key in scoring points for the Hoosier women at the outdoor Big Ten's, as she placed fourth in the 10k and third in the 5k. Whitezell and Siefker both qualified for NCAA regionals in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, and Peterson became an All- American during the cross-country season. One aspect the team will need to come together on is making up for the loss of All-American steeplechaser Audrey Giesler.

    "Of course, losing a student-athlete like Audrey will be tough to replace," said Heisler. "Hopefully these girls can step in and take after her."

    The Indiana distance program will also receive help from incoming freshmen Lauren Keefe and Nikki Peterson. Keefe was third at the 2004 Illinois Prep Top Times meet in the 400-meters and was the conference champion in the 800-meters. Peterson ran the anchor leg of the 4x400-meter relay team at the Wyoming State meet and as a freshman and sophomore was the 400-meter, 800-meter, 1,600-meter and 3,200-meter 2A state champion.

    "These two girls could be really good for us anywhere from the 800-meters up to the 5,000-meters," said Heisler.

    Heisler stressed that in order for the women's team to do better at the conference level, the team cannot have athletes place in the lower half of the competition.

    "You don't win conference meets like that. We need to win some events and we need those kids who placed fifth-to-eighth to place first-to-third. That is the way it works. If you can get a whole team to do that, it changes everything from a team standpoint."

    The women's team will open the 2004 season on Saturday, Jan. 8, as Indiana host the Hoosier Open beginning at 11:30 a.m. inside the Harry Gladstein Fieldhouse.



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