Women's Cross Country Set for 2005 Season
Aug. 16, 2005
With the development of All-American Jessica Gall, the Hoosiers' top runner last season, as well as seniors, Larra Overton, Kelly Siefker, and juniors Lindsay Hattendorf, and Kristin Whitezell, the IU women's cross country team has built up some talent over the years and is geared up for the 2005 campaign. These five athletes, who all have at least two years of national meet experience, have made great strides throughout their cross country careers, and will look to the upcoming season to showcase their growth.
After coming up a little short of the team's goals in 2004, head coach Judy Wilson sees the Hoosiers in a solid position to be a top-three team in the Big Ten and top-10 team in the nation.
"We always want our athletes to set the bar high for team success," Wilson said. "We return many athletes who have made great improvement over the course of their time here. This could be the year that we see them step up and help us place higher at Big Tens and NCAAs."
Much of the Hoosiers' success last season can be attributed to Gall. The West Lafayette, Ind., native established herself as one of the top runners in the nation. Gall, who overcame injuries from a year prior, became just the eighth Hoosier to earn All-American status with an 18th-place finish at NCAAs. She also earned All-Big Ten with a third-place finish at the Big Ten Championship, and finished seventh overall at the Great Lakes Regional meet. Gall did not stop there. Her success followed her to the indoor track season, where she ran an impressive time of 16:03.47 to qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 5,000m.
Hattendorf and Overton have both come a long way since they first arrived in Bloomington as freshmen. The duo experiences injuries in the spring of `04 that halted their spring training. However, both overcame these set-backs and were able to have successful track seasons.
"With the experience they received during the 2005 outdoor track season, they can easily be top-20 finishers in some of our big meets this year," Wilson said.
Having never run cross country at all in highschool, Siefker has has an amazing career at IU. As IU's seventh-best runner as a freshman at the national meet, Siefker has since been a consistent top-three runner for the Hoosiers in the last three years and Wilson sees Siefker as having the potential to be an All-American this fall.
"Her qualification in the 3,000m steeplechase at the outdoor NCAAs was a huge step for her as a national runner," Wilson said. Whitezell is yet another Hoosier who has shown great improvement during her time at IU as evidenced by her 12th-place finish at the Big Ten Championship last season, which earned her All-Big Ten status for the first time in her career. The Carol Stream, Ill., product was also the second Hoosier to cross the finish line at the NCAA Championship, coming in at 22:37.
While the Hoosiers welcome several newcomers with some great accomplishments, Wilson says Danville, Ind., native, Wendi Robinson could be an immediate impact for the 2005 Hoosiers. "Wendi is a great athlete," Wilson said. "She has the potential to do great things for us in cross country and in track. She could probably qualify for the regional meet right now, and she hasn't even worked out with us yet."
Wilson says the 2005 Hoosier squad will have depth, experience and fitness.
"We should have a good five-to-seven people that can run sub-21:30 6k's," Wilson said . "All of these athletes have gradually improved with each race. We're excited to see how far they can go this season."
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