Gaining confidence in strides, the IU men’s and women’s cross country teams are vaulting themselves both into the national rankings and earning Big Ten accolades.
The Hoosier men skyrocketed to No. 17 in USTFCCCA national rankings this week after beating ranked opponents Iona and North Carolina State at the Paul Short Invitational last weekend. The women are also gaining coaches’ votes in the polls, receiving eight this week, and are looking to crack the top 30.
Also, for the third week in a row, a Hoosier has nabbed Big Ten Player of the Week honors. This time, a pair of Hoosiers, for the second time in IU’s history, earned the award.
Senior Wendi Robinson collected the award for the women’s team this week after her fourth place finish at the Paul Short Invitational. It was the first time a Hoosier woman had taken home the honor since Jessica Gall on Sept. 21, 2004.
“Its one of those things where its nice to see that the hard work I’ve put it got recognition,” Robinson said.
Joining Robinson this week was freshman Andy Bayer, whose third-place performance paced the IU men to a first place title at the meet. The only other time Indiana has had both a male and female runner earn the honor was during that same week in 2004 when former Hoosier Sean Jefferson coupled with Gall.
“I felt really good about it,” Bayer said. “It reflects all of us training really well together and it worked out really well. I don’t think we want to change a whole lot, but we’re still looking for more to shoot for this year. We’re not taking anything for granted. We have work to do but we’ll take it from here.”
Previously, sophomore Andrew Poore had received Big Ten Player of the Week for his second-place finish at the Indiana Intercollegiates on Sept. 18. The first week of the season, freshman Zach Mayhew also took home the award as a result of his first collegiate race, where he finished first at the Indiana Open.
“For the third meet in a row, we have had a guy earn the weekly award, and it has been three different runners,” IU coach Ron Helmer said in a press release. “I think that speaks to where we are as a team, and it is a place where we want to be. It is great that Wendi has been honored for a great run at the Paul Short Invitational. You can have an outstanding career and never be honored with a weekly award. It is good to see her get the nod.”
With the Big Ten championships looming Nov. 1, the Hoosiers look to gain momentum when they line up to the tape a week from Saturday at the Sam Bell Invitational, set to take place in Bloomington.
“It’s awesome to see that IU has gotten some recognition and we can make some noise at the Big Ten meet,” Robinson said.