Head coach Robert Gary talks about the return of Jeff See and Chad Balyo, the Class of 2013 and his expectations for the 2009 season.
You ran with a fairly inexperienced team last season. Do you think that will serve you well headed into 2009?
I think some of our redshirted freshmen definitely found out what cross country at the college level is all about. They realize what it takes to be counted on to score and now we have a bigger group of guys that have at least run in competitive races.
Taylor Williams really stepped up and led the team last year as a freshman. What do you expect from him in his second season?
I had hoped that we would’ve had the same type of year out of the rest of the young guys as Taylor showed…that being said, he is a good model as a guy who came out of high school with a 9:28 high school two-mile time that you can be competitive in college with a great summer. Taylor has great goals, including a Top 14 finish at the Big Ten finals and helping our team qualify for the NCAA Championships.
How important will it be to have Jeff See and Chad Balyo back for the upcoming season?
Both of those guys should help our cause a ton. Jeff has been All-Big Ten before and Chad has become much, much stronger. I think he can join Taylor in the Top 14 at the Big Ten Championships.
Give the fans a sense of what the incoming freshmen bring to the Ohio State program.
We have a number of middle distance guys that we are planning on redshirting. However, both Donny Roys and Julian Meyer will compete on the varsity team provided their summer training goes smoothly. Both are very proven competitors in cross country – Julian had a huge breakout season his senior year and Donny was a state champion as a junior and ended his career with a great performance at the Nike High School Championships. Cory Leslie will also be a freshman after redshirting last season – he was a state champion in Ohio while in high school.
Overall, what are your goals for the program this season?
Our objective is to place in the Top 3 at our conference meet and qualify for the NCAA Championships as a team. We will also work hard to earn Academic All-American with distinction as a team (team GPA of 3.25 or higher).