August 24, 2001
Bloomington, Ind. - The Indiana women's cross country team kicks off its season on Friday, August 31 as IU hosts the Indiana Open on the Hoosiers' home course. The team's training continues to develop, but its goals are set and individual members discussed them today.
Sophomore Audrey Giesler was highlighted by head coach Judy Bogenschutz as an athlete who has improved both physically and mentally in her second season. Giesler said, "I agree. This year I know what to expect. I'm much more prepared and have gained a lot of confidence from the track season." Primarily a middle-distance athlete in track, Giesler says the adjustment to longer distances in the fall is more mental than physical, "I just have to convince myself that from August through November I am a 5K to 6K runner and can't look back. If not, I'm just selling myself short."
Junior Allyson Hammond, the Hoosiers' first NCAA qualifier in a decade in 2000, is taking her training one day at a time after sitting out the entire indoor and outdoor track seasons due to injury. When asked if it was hard to convince herself that she could once again attain the level of a national caliber athlete, Hammond responded, "Even though I'm running, it is still hard to convince myself that I will get back there. I just have to be patient and take it one day at a time, each day as it comes. If I sit and compare where I am now to where I was last season, it would be overwhelming. I've gone from the highest point in my career to the lowest, but I can get through if I just stay positive."
Sophomore Becky Obrecht, who scored for Indiana when they took fourth at the Great Lakes Regional in the first 6K of her career spoke of her role. "I want to support the team and be more consistent through the season. When we're on the line at nationals, I want to go there to compete." On the team, she added, "We're a real tight pack and we have 12 freshman pushing us all the time. It really sunk in with us last season at the regional meet that we were capable of making it to nationals and I think we're even more determined this season. I just hope that my work puts me in a position to be there for the team."
Junior/sophomore Lauren Weddell agrees with Obrecht on the large pool of athletes running at a high level. "The team is totally different from last year. There was an easily definable top-two on the team with a lot more spread and this year there is more of a pack."
Senior Erin Womble will be looked to for leadership and Bogenschutz says she is always fired up for cross country season. Womble says, "I really like cross country and the aspect of the team. We are much more team oriented and this year we have a really good group of girls." On the biggest factor needed for the success of the team, Womble added, "The biggest thing is our mindset. When the races get tough, you have to look at eachother and know that we are still as motivated as we are now. That's what is going to make our team this season. I've watched nationals from the sideline for three years, but not this year as long as we all stay healthy."