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Monday, June 17
The Indiana Daily Student

sports

Team relies on recruiting class

Coach says new blood, 'culture' conncection between athletes will help Hoosiers improve

The Indiana men's cross country team is establishing itself not only as one of the Big Ten's elite, but also as a national elite. \nThis did not occur overnight. The team has come a long way in recent years, moving up in the conference from 10th in 1998 to fifth in 1999. \nLast season, the Hoosiers finished second in the Big Ten Championship and earned an at-large bid to the NCAA championship. The team plans to continue to build on last year's success this season. \nCoach Robert Chapman's first year at IU was in 1998 when they finished 10th. Chapman believes there are several key reasons for the improvement. One is talent. He has not only been able to recruit quality, but quantity -- starting several years ago when the new cross country coaching staff heavily recruited a highly touted group of high school seniors from within the state. \nThe recruiting class is now the foundation for the team's current success. As the cross country team excelled in meets, more potential recruits took notice, leading to this year's impressive recruiting class. \n"This year's incoming recruiting class is in the top five in the nation," Chapman said. \nAnother reason for the increased success is something Chapman calls "culture". The "culture" is more then just team chemistry. It is deeper than that. Chapman described it as more a lifestyle than an idea. \n"This team gets along and is always willing to help each other out," said junior Chad Andrews. "That is important but this team is also striving towards the same goal."\nThe goal is to improve upon last season as a team. Chapman has been able to get his guys to believe in his system. Chapman's system does not teach any specific skill, such as how to run, but teaches these athletes how to manage stress, both physical and mental. It also teaches them how to be successful runners by getting enough sleep, eating a healthy diet and conditioning properly. The team does not feel as though they are making sacrifices, but that they are doing what any successful cross country team does.\nThe team said it expects to be successful. Members realize the hard work will bring rewards toward the end of the season. With the team having the mind-set that they belong with the Big Ten and Nation's elite, they have the confidence to improve this season. \n"With the teams current depth and work ethic, Indiana cross-country has the ability to run with the best for several years to come," said red-shirt sophomore Jeff Zeha.

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