September 26, 2003
Bloomington, IN - Following the No. 21 Indiana women's cross country team title at the Indiana Intercollegiates, the Hoosiers head to Minneapolis, Minn. for the Roy Griak Invite Saturday at 1 p.m.
The Roy Griak Invite is annually the nation's premier regular season meets, and it will be a challenge for the Hoosiers to duplicate last year's fifth place finish.
"This year's Roy Griak meet will be quite different than last year's. This year's field is somewhat tougher," said head coach Judy Wilson. "I'm hoping that we can be in the top 10 which will mean that we have beaten some teams that we need to beat. I think there are 14 teams that are potentially top 30 in the country. If one of our runners ran 22:00 last year and placed 35th, that same time this year might get them 50th this year."
For Indiana to continue this progress, Audrey Giesler needs to set the tone, and she is on her way to doing just that.
Geisler came away with her first collegiate individual title as she ran a career-best 17:47, and helped Indiana to its first Intercollegiates title since 1988.
"Audrey has just been able to put her ducks in a row," Wilson stated. "This is sort of a joke between us. In terms of training, it just means that you get stronger each season, and you get better at handling workloads. Your body becomes stronger physically, and you are more mentally prepared to handle race situations. To me, running is pretty simple. You put in the workouts, one after another, and sooner or later you are faster than you were before. That is what Audrey has been able to do. And, even more importantly, she decided half way through her sophomore year that she didn't want to be a mediocre college runner."
The upcoming Roy Griak Invite will be an educational experience for the Hoosiers, who gained considerable experience last season en route to a 14th place NCAA finish.
"Last year, I kept telling the team that our "learning curve was huge meaning that we had people who had relatively little experience with what to do when they found themselves in the top part of the field," Wilson said. I feel like we are there again with respect to Kelly (Siefker), Kristin (Whitezell), Larra (Overton), Amber (Miller), and Julie (Shields), because none of the them were in our top five last year and we need two of them in those spots. The stakes are higher for you when you are in a race and you have a coach yelling at you that you are the fourth runner, or you are the fifth runner. That person knows that it REALLY matters where they are for the team points. As for peaking too early, if I think that we are ahead of where we need to be, then I adjust the training accordingly. I think a lot of running well at the big meets has more to do with someone's mindset than whether or not they did enough intervals at the end of the season. We actually did things with different runners last year, and still had 5 of 7 run pr's in the NCAA meet. How do you explain that? I think if 3 or 4 are ready to run, they can get everyone else going, and it becomes contagious."
"Right now, I have told our No. 5-8 runners that we need them to step up," Wilson said. They are all upperclassmen and they won't be able to just ride along. We will only be as good as they allow us to be. Kelly saw international competition last year, and Larra really came on competitively at the outdoor Big Ten. That will help them a great deal this fall."