Indiana Daily Student

First meet of season not by Hoosiers’ choice

Yes, it’s on the schedule, but that doesn’t mean it actually matters.

That is the stance IU Coach Ron Helmer is taking as his team prepares for Saturday’s Indiana Open in Bloomington.

So why would the Hoosiers choose to participate in the event? It was more a mandate than a choice.

For every 21 practice opportunities a team has, the NCAA requires a meet, Helmer said.

Helmer said he is less concerned about the results than he is with appeasing the NCAA.

“The work these guys and girls have done this summer — they’ve done a great job,” said Helmer. “To line up and race this early for guys who raced all the way to the first of July is kind of silly, but we still have to run a race.”

Helmer said most of the team will be scaled back and told to take it easy this

Redshirt junior Ben Bizuneh will be one of those toning it down for the race after increasing his workload to new extremes this summer.

“I’ve been doing about 100 miles a week for about five or six weeks now,” Bizuneh said. “That’s a milestone for a distance runner.”

Helmer already knows what runners with experience bring. Helmer is more interested in the team’s newest additions.

“I want to watch the freshmen,” Helmer said. “I need to watch them run hard. And everyone else, I just want them to get out there and get through a very comfortable, controlled day and get back to training.”

That means Bizuneh will direct his attention to how he feels and what he can do when Helmer gives him the green light. Finishing times will be irrelevant, Bizuneh said.
“I just want to finish hard,” Bizuneh said. “If I can do well in that last mile or two that he lets us run free, then I’ll be happy.”

In addition to the cross country team, the Indiana Open is typically comprised of IU Run Club members and other schools, as well as other miscellaneous participants.

Last year’s winner was Sean Jefferson, a 2004 NCAA Champion in the mile for IU.
Helmer said he has no idea exactly who will be participating in this weekend’s meet.

“We’re far more interested in training, getting a couple of really good workouts in and starting to adapt to a more structured plan,” he said. “We’ve got much bigger challenges down the road.”

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