Jessica Gall and Lindsay Hattendorf - Leading By Example
Oct. 10, 2006
Gall, a two-time All-American, has taken to the role as one of the Hoosiers' leaders. Her style of leadership has become a result of her own work ethic.
"I try and lead by example, mostly," Gall said. "Also, I sometimes lead by the occasional verbal reminder. Lindsay and I just try and work our hardest and do what we've been doing the past four years. We have a really good group of younger girls, and I think they respond well to that."
Hattendorf, a three-time NCAA Championships qualifier, has also taken to the role as a team leader both on and off the course.
"Since I'm in my fifth year, I see myself being a leader for the younger girls to look up to and to be there if they have any questions, and also to be an overall role model for them in running and school," Hattendorf said. "I just want to be someone for them to come and talk to and just be there for them."
Indiana head women's cross country coach Judy Wilson has always reminded her student-athletes that once they become sophomores, they also become role models for freshmen.
"I think the people who have that true leadership ability show up anyway," Wilson said. "I feel like a lot of times, it is best to lead by example. What I try to encourage all of the upperclassmen to think about is that they have underclassmen now watching them. So when freshmen become sophomores, I say, 'Now you're not freshmen anymore, and you have these girls who are looking at you and watching what you're doing.' Building leadership is the biggest thing you have to strive for first. The juniors and seniors have had some success, and everyone just kind of feeds off that."
However, Wilson hasn't exactly had to push Gall and Hattendorf into their current roles.
"Coach is really good about making the most of everyone's personality," Gall said. "We spent a lot of time on our last trip trying to decide what a Type A and a Type B personality was and defining each person on the team as Type A or Type B. I was pretty much a Type A. Coach is just really good about letting people do what comes naturally and I'm kind of a take charge person, naturally. It's really both of us working together."
With the added responsibility as a leader, most would think Gall and Hattendorf would be under quite a bit of pressure come race day. However, the two have been able to direct that responsibility into performing to the best of the their abilities in pacing the Hoosier pack.
"I think I have more of a responsibility to be up in the front, and I know that's where I should be in the race," Gall said. "I know all my teammates are looking for me to be as close to the front as possible, and I don't want to let them down. I don't think I feel any more pressure than I would otherwise. I just try and run as fast as I can."
Hattendorf echoes Gall's drive to compete at her highest potential and live up to what the team expects from her.
"I know there are expectations for myself, but I try not to let the pressure build up," Hattendorf said. "I just go out there and have fun every time, and just know that this is my season is coming to a close and I just want finish it in the right way."
Individually, Wilson has always known both Gall and Hattendorf have always had the ability and the drive to lead the Hoosiers by example.
"I think it works well for Jess," Wilson said. "Sometimes people can get overly involved with other people and care too much about what other people are doing, and then you just lose sight of what you're doing. I sat her down and said, 'You will do the best for the team when you do what you need to do.' You can only tell people that they need to do X, Y and Z. Because of the way Jess does things, it just brings so much to the team. This is someone who will have a post-collegiate running career. If you want to be the best runner you can be, maybe you need to look around and see who is doing the things they need to do.
"From day one, Lindsay has come to practice and just says, 'Bring it,'" Wilson said. "That's her motto - 'Tell me what we're going to do and I'm going to push myself that hard in practice.' That attitude has gotten her to this point. She missed nationals by one spot last year in the 10K, and she certainly has exceeded our expectations. She has gone over and above that."
Knowing what Gall and Hattendorf have accomplished and what they could potentially reach has helped Wilson with this year's squad, which features 11 freshmen and four sophomores. With the championship season approaching, Wilson will look to their experience to help guide her talented but young group through the toughest portion of the season.
"Jess and Lindsay have been to the show three times each, and they both made it last year," Wilson said. "They know what it takes to get there. Without them, we are a really young team. I looked around at Oregon, and we had Jess and Lindsay, then we had one junior, four sophomores and a freshman with us. So, without them, we are really young and it just means a lot to have them for this year because I think it's going to help those freshmen a lot for next year (when they're sophomores) when they aren't around."
Gall and Hattendorf both know that their past experiences will only prove valuable to the squad with the Pre-NCAAs coming up and Big Ten Championships in Bloomington on Oct. 29.
"I think experience in those meets is more important than a lot of the other meets, because pre-nationals is such a huge race," Gall said. "There are more than 30 teams, and that's even after splitting up the races. So hopefully, Lindsay and I can tell the girls about that ahead of time so they know what to expect. We've taken time to practice on the course for pre-nationals to help everyone mentally know where they're going and have a better feel for the course. That race really does matter."
"The Big Ten Championships is always a tough race because it's such a tough conference," Gall added. "One of our main goals is do well at Big Tens. There, it doesn't matter how fast you run, it matters how high you place. So I think we can share that with the younger runners and hopefully share the sense of tradition IU has had with its success at Big Tens. We want to do better than what we have in the past four years and I think we have the team to do it. Hopefully, we can instill some confidence in them for these two big meets coming up."
The Hoosiers will compete at Pre-NCAAs on Saturday, Oct. 14. The meet is hosted by Indiana State on the LaVern Gibson Championship Course in Terre Haute, and is slated to start at 11 a.m. (ET). The course is also the site of the 2006 NCAA Championships, which will be held on Monday, Nov. 20.
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