September 12, 2002
Bloomington, Ind. - Jessica Gall and Lindsay Hattendorf have so much in common. They are members of the Indiana women's cross country team. They are freshmen. Both were highly-recruited out of their respective northern Indiana high schools, West Lafayette and Chesterton. They were both top runners in the state of Indiana throughout their prep careers. And they're roommates at IU. You might think that they share more in common than that - and you would be wrong. The differences begin right there.
Sit down with these two and it's more comedy than business - though they'll both tell you that's Lindsay's influence.
"She's an MTV girl and I'm a CNN kind of girl," Jessica admits.
"She's politics," Lindsay says, pointing to Jessica, "I'm watching Real World," she says and points to herself.
Then the gates open, as Jessica says, "Well, I'm a little messier."
"Not a little - she's a lot messier!" Lindsay interjects. "I grounded her to her room until she cleaned it...and she still hasn't done it!"
"And Lindsay's a neat freak - I know, it's flip-flopped from what you would think," Jessica, the political science and secondary education double major, concedes.
"I'm a little more hyper than she is, but I bring it out of her," Lindsay happily admits. Hattendorf aspires to obtain her degree in elementary education -but what grade? "My ideal grade is second grade because they are cute, and they are just beginning to really learn."
The two laugh, showing evidence of a friendship that could not have begun just over a month ago when they came to Bloomington for preseason training. They reveal that they have known each other since high school when they competed against each other. Lindsay and Jessica met their sophomore year in high school and kept a steady, competing relationship until their senior year when they began emailing more often. Ultimately, they decided to room together at IU.
And why did they both decide on IU? Head coach Judy Wilson.
"There were a lot of deciding factors, but it was mainly Coach Wilson. She really sold me on the school. When I came down to visit, the team was great and the campus is wonderful. I could really see myself running here and studying here. Everything just clicked for me," said Gall.
"I couldn't see myself going any place other than IU. Coach Wilson had a real impact on it. She convinced me. I had a feeling from the start that this was the right school for me. The team is just incredible. All of us, we clicked right away. We're all here to do the same thing, and that's to win," said Hattendorf.
Then the inevitable question surfaces - Jessica, why Indiana and not Purdue, being from West Lafayette?
"I grew up a Purdue fan. All my relatives bleed gold and black. I never even considered going to IU until Coach Wilson called me. In talking to her, I thought `This lady sounds pretty neat,' so I ended up here. It's a little tough because a lot of my friends and teachers from back home give me a hard time about it," said Gall.
But Gall and Hattendorf both have a deep respect for the team and their teammates in addition to their coach.
"The atmosphere here is different (than in high school). Everyone is working so well together and everyone has such common goals - to run well and to win. In high school everyone is not as focused. It's more a mentality of, `I just want to play a sport' or `My mom's making me play' and there are no cuts. Here it's real business. It's a whole other level. Our days are a lot harder and hopefully our times will be a lot faster," said Gall.
"I came out of a school where our cross country team had the same goals (as the team at IU). We very much wanted to go out and win a state championship. Coming into this it's the same as high school. Training is a lot harder and now I have people in front of me to try to catch, instead of them catching me from behind. It's different. It's fun to catch people - to have people to catch now instead of being the one people want to catch," said Hattendorf.
There is a level of understanding that exists between the two, and so far the roommate situation is going well, as they both readily admit that they love to talk about running and most people would think they were crazy, the way they focus on running.
With the evident dedication of these two to running and to their team, expectations are high for success at the collegiate level. They are both willing and prepared to go the extra mile, to become the runner out in front. It will take work to again become the person out in front who the rest of the pack is trying to catch.
In their spare time, perhaps the roommates will relax in their dorm room and watch TV. If only they could choose between CNN and MTV.