IU Looks for Improvements in 2005
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.
" 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.
"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.
"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."
"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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