Gall and Hattendorf Cap Off Careers at NCAA Cross Country Championships
Nov. 18, 2006
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. - Seniors Jessica Gall and Lindsay Hattendorf will conclude their cross country careers when represent Indiana at the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday, Nov. 20, at the LaVern Gibson Golf Course in Terre Haute, Ind. The women's 6K is scheduled to begin at 12 p.m.
"Nothing prepares you more for the NCAA meet than having been there before," IU head women's cross country coach Judy Wilson said. "Both of these runners are experienced with this meet and they can handle this level of competition."
Gall and Hattendorf are the first two women in IU cross country history to qualify for nationals in each of their respective years of competition.
"I was surprised to find out that Lindsay and I were the first people to qualify all four years because of the strong tradition IU has had with two national champions and many All-Americans," Gall said. "It means a lot for me individually, but I think it is more representative of how Coach Wilson has guided and encouraged both of us consistently over the past five years. There is an abundance of female distance runners that burn out over the course of a college career, but I still love the sport, the competition, and the people I'm around.
"The first year I ran in the NCAA race I was lucky to be a part of a team that qualified because I would not have qualified individually," Gall said. "Being at NCAA's four years in a row is not just because of what Lindsay or I have done individually, but also because we've been in the right place at the right time with the right coach."
Gall, a two-time All-American, has the potential to become the Hoosiers' first-ever woman to earn All-American honors in three consecutive years. Last season, the West Lafayette, Ind., native placed 32nd overall at the NCAA Championships with a time of 20:29.3 in the 6K. Gall has led the Hoosiers in the last six straight meets, placing among the top ten on five occasions. Last weekend, Gall finished fifth overall at the Great Lakes Regional Championships in Bowling Green, Ohio, in a time of 21:03.26.
"I would love to be a three-time All-American, especially in a sport where that honor is based on one race and not a whole season's worth of work," Gall said. "I probably put more pressure on myself than anybody else ever could. This is an amazing opportunity. I remember so vividly finishing the NCAA race in 2004 when I got 18th and made All-American; I was on top of the world. If I can recapture that feeling for just a fleeting moment on Monday I will be more than happy."
Gall's top finish of the year was when she claimed the individual title at Indiana Intercollegiates on Sept. 15 with a career-best time of 17:36.3, leading the Hoosiers to their fourth consecutive meet championship.
With a lot of big meets under her belt this season including the Bill Dellinger Invitational at Oregon on Sept. 29 and Pre-Nationals on Oct. 14, Gall is ready to have her best performance thus far. "I have run against a lot of good competition this year, but I don't think I have had my best race yet," Gall said. "I am really motivated to beat those people that have previously beaten me this season."
Gall is a four-time All-Big Ten honoree, a four-time NCAA qualifier and earned Women's Intercollegiate Cross Country Coaches Association (WICCCA) academic honors in 2005. Gall is also a two-time Big Ten all-academic team honoree.
Hattendorf, a Chesterton, Ind., product, has also been a fixture among IU's top five in 16 consecutive races and is looking for her first All-American honor. Last season, Hattendorf posted a career-best 6K time of 20:48 at the 2005 NCAA Championships, where she finished 61st overall. She has been IU's second-fastest runner in 14 meets during her five seasons in Bloomington. At the Great Lakes Regional Championships last weekend, Hattendorf placed 10th overall with a time of 21:12.16 in the 6K.
"This is my last cross country race, so I have nothing to lose," Hattendorf said. "Last year, I made it to nationals, when a lot of people maybe did not believe I could do that. This year, I want to surprise people even more. Getting All-American is my ultimate dream. I know I can do it. I just need to put everything out there on the course and finish with no regrets."
Hattendorf recorded a season-best time of 21:00 in the 6K at Pre-Nationals, placing 45th among a field of 245 on Oct. 14. Her highest finish of her senior season was on Sept. 15 at Indiana Intercollegiates, when she placed fourth with a time of 17:57.5 in the 5K. She ran a career-best 5K time of 18:07 at the 2005 Notre Dame Invitational. The four-time NCAA qualifier also earned WICCCA All-Academic team honors last season and is a three-time Academic All-Big Ten selection.
"I can't put into words what it has meant to have Jess and Lindsay in this program for the last five years," Wilson said. "They are so different, yet have helped each other a great deal. They have challenged me to try to a better coach, and they have been a great example to their teammates."
"Both Jess and Lindsay have had their share of struggles during their careers, but they have consistently improved each year with regard to building strength, handling the pressures of their academics, and are better able to adapt to disappointments," Wilson said. "When people come into the program, I have a vision for them to improve each year in many different ways. But one thing I really want to see is for them to graduate wanting to continue to run. I think we've done that."
Final results of the 2006 NCAA Cross Country Championships may be found on IUHOOSIERS.com.
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