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Aug. 27, 2003

The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams enter the 2003 cross country season with high expectations. The men return 10 individuals from last season, while the women return six. Both teams feature a fine crop of individuals with a solid combination of senior leadership and young talent.

MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY OUTLOOK
The 2002 campaign marked one of the most successful seasons in Ohio State men’s cross country as the Buckeyes compiled a record of 130-42 en route to their second NCAA championships appearance.

The men also posted first-place finishes at the Akron Invitational and All-Ohio Championships, while at the Big Ten championships the men posted their highest finish since 1977. This season the Buckeyes have their sights set on making their third appearance at the NCAA championships in four years.

“Last year was the best Ohio State men’s cross country team ever,” Robert Gary men’s cross country coach said. “This year we want to make a real run at trying to win the Big Ten meet, but we would also like to shift a lot of our focus toward the NCAA level.”

Despite the Buckeyes postseason run to their second NCAA championship in three years, the men left Terre Haute, (site of the 2002 NCAA Championships) finishing the event 20th. This season Gary and the men have set a goal of finishing in the Top 10 at the NCAA championships.

“Last year we didn’t even have a goal concerning NCAA’s except to make it there,” Gary said. “I thought we had such a storybook conference and regional race and when we got to nationals we were slightly flat. This year, once championship season rolls around, we want to be sure we are ready and not limping into the NCAA championships like last season.”

Despite the departure of Derrick Butler, the 2002 Ohio Runner of the Year, the men still feature a talented crop of seniors and juniors. Among the returnees are second team All-Big Ten runners Dan Glaz and Aaron Fisher. The men also return Rob Myers, who is coming off a solid track and field season, where he set two indoor school records in the 1,000-meter run and the mile. Gary will look to Myers to lead the team as captain for the second-consecutive season.

The men begin the season in Columbus as they compete in the Ohio State Invitational. The event will feature teams from throughout the state of Ohio. The first test for the Buckeyes will come during the Great American Cross Country Festival in Raleigh, N.C., which will give the squad a look at some of the top competition in 2003.

“We have high goals this year,” Gary said. “I think everybody on this team realizes how tough Top 10 at the NCAA championships will be.”

WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY SEASON OUTLOOK
The Ohio State women’s cross country team enters the 2003 season under the direction of second-year head coach Chad Myers. During his first year at the helm, Myers led the Buckeyes to a 45-19 overall record, including first place finishes at the Cincinnati Invitational and Notre Dame Invitational, along with a ninth-place finish at the All-Ohio Championships. This season Ohio State will look to build upon its successes in 2002.

In their quest to become one of the Big Ten’s elite teams, the women will be gunning for a Top 6 finish in the highly competitive conference championships. During the off-season, Myers installed within his runners the attitude of setting goals and establishing a solid training base.

“The foundation of the rebuilding process is being set into place with the new dynamics of the team,” Myers said. “We would like to enter this season with a good solid summer under our belts.”

The women’s team features a challenging schedule, which begins in Columbus at the Ohio State Invitational where the Buckeyes will compete against some of the top teams from throughout the state. The Buckeyes will receive their first road test of the season at the All-Ohio Championships as the women look to improve upon their ninth-place finish from a year ago.

“Together as a team we have to set goals high enough to challenge everyone on this squad,” Myers said. “I’m excited about the upcoming season and I see the desire to improve in the eyes of all the current runners. The willingness to step things up to a new level is coming from them as well as the incoming freshmen.”

WHO TO WATCH
Seniors Rob Myers and Sjaan Gerth will enter the 2003 cross country season with the goal of returning the men’s cross country team to the NCAA championships. While at Ohio State, both Myers and Gerth have proven themselves not only as key contributors but also as inspirational leaders.

Myers will look to ride the wave of confidence he displayed during the 2003 track season. As captain of the 2003 men’s team, Myers has dedicated himself to this season, working to motivate himself and his fellow teammates. This season, Myers should contend for one of the top spots at the Big Ten championships.

“The way Rob leads by example and his competitive spirit is unmatched by any other athlete I have ever coached,” Gary said.

Serving as captain along side Myers will be fellow senior Sjaan Gerth. Gerth enters the 2003 season in the hopes of improving upon his 23rd-place finish at the 2002 Big Ten Championships and should provide the men’s team with another outspoken leader.

The men’s team also will rely on juniors Dan Glaz and Aaron Fisher. Both individuals posted strong individual performances in 2002, and earned second team All-Big Ten honors.

Fisher’s hard work and dedication during the off-season has rubbed off on his teammates and impressed Gary, who considers him to be one of the surprise runners in 2003.

On the women’s side, Myers will turn to junior Robyn Detty and sophomore Chelsea Poling. Both of which enter the season looking to build on solid cross country seasons from a year ago. During 2002, Poling led the Buckeyes in three races and now should provide the women’s team with a solid No. 1 runner.

“I have high expectations for Chelsea,” Myers said. “She and I have sat down and discussed not only this season but the next three years.”

Detty will look to improve upon her 49th-place finish she at the Big Ten championships. Despite an injury-plagued track season Detty appears to have turned the corner and could push Poling for the No. 1 spot throughout the season.

“Robyn has made a complete U-turn from the outdoor season,” Myers said. “Her training is coming along very well and I have high expectations for her also.”

Myers also has added a stellar trio of incoming freshmen to the team in Jessica Neal (fr., Mitchellville, Md./Riverdale Baptist), Nicole Gliem (Fr., Columbus, Ohio/Bishop Watterson) and Melanie Price (Fr., Cincinnati, Ohio/Cincinnati Turpin). All three runners enter the season with the opportunity to contribute immediately.

“One thing we are really trying to do is make sure the incoming freshmen are getting incorporated correctly,” Myers said. “With everybody working together that is going to be possible.”