Judy Wilson is in her ninth season as the women's distance coach and head women's cross country coach at her alma mater. As a student-athlete in the mid-1980s, she played a key role in the Hoosiers' regional and national success in cross country, and she is enjoying the same results as head coach.
Allyson Hammond's individual qualification for the 2000 NCAA meet returned the Hoosiers to the national spotlight and set the standard for the years to come.
Wilson led the Hoosiers to another successful season in 2005. IU took fourth at the Big Ten meet with Jessica Gall and Lindsay Hattendorf finishing in the top 10. Under Wilson's guidance, Gall became the first Hoosier to earn All-America honors on two occasions after finishing 32nd at the NCAAs. During the outdoor track season, Kelly Siefker became the second Hoosier All-American in the steeplechase with a stunning ninth-place finish. Additionally, Wilson led Gall to an NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance in the 10K and Larra Overton to the NCAAs in the 1,500m.
Wilson's team succeeded in the classroom as much as it did on the course in 2005. The Hoosiers recorded the second-highest GPA of any women's cross country program in the country, while Gall led the nation with the highest GPA of any female runner.
In 2004, Wilson mentored Gall, while leading Indiana to its third straight fourth-place finish overall at the NCAA Regional meet. Under Wilson's direction, Gall finished in 18th place at NCAAs to become only the eighth runner in school history tabbed All-American.
Wilson coached Mindy Peterson to All-American status, Audrey Giesler to All-Big Ten recognition and the team to a fourth-place finish at the Big Ten meet in 2003, marking the first time since 1989-90 that the Hoosiers have had back-to-back top-four finishes at the conference meet.
Indiana finished 14th at the 2002 NCAA Championships, the best Hoosier finish since a 13th -place finish in 1990.
The IU women cracked the national polls (No. 18 on Oct. 21,2002) for the first time in 13 years.
After finishing ninth at the 2001 Big Ten meet, Indiana took third in 2002 as three Hoosier athletes - Audrey Giesler, Jessica Gall and Becky Obrecht - earned all-league honors. This marked the first time in school history that Indiana had three all-league runners in the same season, and it marked IU's best Big Ten performance since the 1990 club won the title.
The Hoosier women also posted a dramatic turnaround at the 2002 NCAA Great Lakes Region Meet, improving from 12th in 2001 to fourth in 2002.
Wilson has succeeded during the indoor and outdoor track seasons as well. She guided Giesler to a 2003 Big Ten steeplechase title and helped the Downers Grove, Ill., native to become the first female IU All-American steeplechaser at the 2004 NCAA Outdoor Track Championships. In 2006, she guided Kelly Siefker to All-American status in the same event. Wilson also is responsible for sending at least one athlete to the NCAA Track Championships for the last four years.
In the past six seasons, Indiana has had eight All-Big Ten student-athletes. IU also continues to hold high academic standards as 40 Hoosiers earned Academic All-Big Ten honors the last three seasons. The women's cross country team has consistently held the highest team GPA of all women's varsity sports.
A former walk-on at Indiana (1984-1988), Wilson developed into one of the most improved and strongest student-athletes on the team. She was named team captain in 1987-88, won the Most Improved Athlete Award, the Coaches Award in 1986 and 1988 and the Scholastic Achievement Award in 1987.
She ran with the likes of Kim Betz, Michelle Dekkers and Colette Goudreau during her time as a Hoosier and still owns one of the fastest Hoosier times on the IU course (fourth). Additionally, she ranks among the top five in Indiana history in the 3,000m, 5,000m and 10,000m.
Upon completing eligibility, Wilson became the head coach for the girls cross country and track and field teams and boys distance track at Bloomington South High School for two years. She obtained 1989 Regional Coach of the Year honors after leading the cross country team to its first state qualification in the school's history and coaching a 400m state champion. In 1990, she coached state qualifiers in the 800m and 4x400m relay.
During this time, Wilson also received a B.S. in Exercise Science/Physical Education from IU and earned Level 1 and Level 2 USAT&F Coaching Education Certification.
She continued to compete, running for Nike Indiana. She claimed fourth in the 5,000m in the 1988 Olympic Trials and second in the 10K at TAC Nationals that same year. Her Olympic Trials performance capped off the amazing development of her career. She began as a 5:26 miler and became a national-caliber distance runner.
In 1989, Wilson placed second in the 3,000m at TAC Nationals (9:18), won the Indianapolis 500 Half-Marathon (1:17.59) and set the record by winning the half-marathon event at the Olympic Festival in Oklahoma City in 1:16.43. The following year, she captured 10th place at the 1990 U.S. Cross Country Trials.
The year 1990 also marked Wilson's first collegiate coaching position as assistant men's and women's cross country and track and field at the University of South Florida. She helped lead the team to a Sun Belt Conference title that year and earned Sun Belt Conference Co-Coach of the Year.
Wilson then returned to her home state and served as head coach and program coordinator for men's and women's cross country and track and field at DePauw University from 1992-96. Wilson earned ICAC Coach of the Year after leading the women's track team to the conference crown in 1995.
Following her tenure at DePauw, Wilson became the assistant women's cross country and track and field coach at the University of Connecticut from 1996-98. She coached national qualifiers, including Danyelle Wood, the highest finisher in cross country at UConn, who posted times of 34:09 in the 10K and 16:36 in the 5K, as well as Allison Ciosek, who placed 11th in the 10K at the 1998 NCAAs with a time of 34:48.
The fall of 1998 marked Wilson's return to Indiana. She believes the keys to returning IU to the national level is incorporating various aspects of a well-rounded training program, such as massage therapy, proper nutrition and sports psychology.
Wilson is a native of Oldenburg, Ind., and graduate of Batesville High School. She and her husband, Mark, reside in Bloomington with their three-year-old son, Hunter.