The Indiana womens track and field team has reached new heights in recent seasons, and the 2004 edition will look to build on that trend of success in the upcoming season. Though, IU lost All-Americans Danielle Carruthers (sprints/hurdles), Rachelle Boone (sprints), Rose Richmond (jumps/sprints) and Ira Kharun (javelin) to graduation, multiple highly talented individuals remain in the program. Head coach Randy Heisler and his staff have also recruited several high school athletes with impressive credentials. Heisler is anxious to see his athletes respond to their newfound roles.
Obviously, you cant replace athletes like that with freshmen, Heisler said. The thing that I am curious about is to see how our womens team responds. Last year, I felt we had athletes that had the ability to step up at the conference (meet) and possibly even on the national level and do really well. But because we preached the team concept to them so much, they may have looked at Rose, Danielle, Rachelle and Ira, and thought Because they are on our team, Im not being counted on to step up.
Throws In her first season at IU, Andrea Dalla Rosa finished fourth in the shot put at the Big Ten Indoor Championship and posted NCAA provisional mark.
Andrea Dalla Rosa had a very good year in a Conference that produced a lot of athletes that went to nationals. I need her to show up to win against anybody (this season) She has the talent and ability and If Andrea realizes she is very good, we will be in great shape with an athlete at that level in the throws.
IU senior Jackie Taylor will also bolster the Hoosier throwing corps.
Jackie has improved so much each year, Heisler commented. I can see her scoring in both the shot put and the discus this year in the conference.
Sprints/Hurdles With the loss of Boone and Carruthers, junior Ara Towns is set to emerge as the leader in the sprint events. Towns placed third, just behind Boone and Carruthers, in the 60m at the Big Ten Indoor Championships by posting a personal best time of 7.39 Towns is a two-time All-American as a part of the 4x100 relay team, which set an Indiana record (43.57) and finished fifth at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in 2003.
We will look for Ara to step right into the shoes that Rachelle and Danielle filled, Heisler said. Shell have a national runner-up to compete against in the conference, but thats okay. We are looking for big things from her.
Junior Charlene Maddox returns to run the 400m, and will be called upon to step up.
Its time for Charlene to step out of the shadows of everyone else and really run fast, Heisler said.
In addition, Stacey Clausing, a freshman from Saint Marys, Ohio, begins her Hoosier career. Clausing was a 400m state champion in for Memorial High School.
Several new faces will also compete for IU in the sprint and hurdles events in 2004.
We went out and recruited four athletes for these events because we had one hurdler in Danielle Carruthers last year, and she had graduated, Heisler commented.
Freshmen Courtney Johnson, Lorian Price and Darcelle McCutcheon are all athletes that were recruited to come in and fill the void in the long and short hurdles.
We will have to wait and see what happens, Heisler said. We have a great class of freshmen coming in. This group has state championships and national junior titles and all kinds of things to their credit.
Sophomore Jessica Cassell will also work on the 400-meter hurdles.
Jumps The Hoosiers should be solid in the jumps events, with several athletes with strong competitive experience returning for this season.
In the high jump, Heisler welcomes Christina Archibald back to competition. Archibald, who also plays volleyball at IU, used a redshirt season in 2003 in order to recover from injury
I am really excited about Christina coming back, Heisler said. She finished second at the Big Ten Indoor meet and fourth at the outdoor meet two season ago. It will be nice to have her healthy.
Sophomore Jean Schaffer is back as well and will look to use the momentum from an impressive freshman campaign heading into this season. Schaffer finished fourth at Big Ten Conference Indoor Championships.
Though IU lost All-American Rose Richmond and former Big Ten champion Tandra Foster to graduation in the long jump, the cupboard is not empty.
Senior Jennifer Cobbina placed second at the Big Ten Indoor Meet in 2002, and will look to go out with a bang in 2004.
Senior Lauren Chesnut set the Indiana school record in both the indoor and outdoor triple jumps last season. Chesnut is a two-time NCAA qualifier and will be looking to make some noise in the conference and on the national level this season.
After transferring and going through that process, its a real credit to Lauren to achieve all that she did last year. Heisler said. I expect her to jump even further this year.
Pole Vault All four Hoosier pole vaulters return in 2004. Junior Emily Tharpe placed third at the Big Ten Conference Indoor Championship last season. Ellison Tipton, also a junior, turned in an impressive performance at the conference outdoor meet in 2003, finishing in sixth.
Emily, Ellison, Abby (Paul) and Ashley (Stinton) have all had their moments, Heisler said of the quartet. I am hoping we will have consistency, since we have an everyday coach in that area now. They are all training hard. This group is a huge factor in our program, because we could win the conference or put two or three athletes in the top five.
Distance Indiana returns a battle-tested group in the distance events. Senior Audrey Giesler, junior Mindy Peterson and sophomores Jessica Gall, Lindsay Hattendorf and Kelly Siefker are ready to take it to the next level.
We need all of these athletes to score and come up big at the conference meets, Heisler said.
Giesler set a Big Ten and Indiana record in the 3000m steeplechase during the outdoor season and advanced to the NCAA Outdoor Meet.
Im so happy for Audrey because of how far she has come, Heisler said. This is her senior year, and who knows what Audrey can do? I look for her to lead by example.
With another year of experience under their belts, and time to mature physically, Heisler is optimistic about what can be accomplished. He considers the distance area to factor into Indianas conference success.
They are a great bunch of young ladies, and they work really hard. I am really confident that they are going to do well this year.