Sept. 16, 2004
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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams open the 2004 season in Charlottesville, Va. where they will compete in the 2004 Lou Onesty Cavalier Cross Country Invitational.
The University of Virginia will play host to the event at Panorama Farms. The venue features several rolling hills and will be run entirely on grass. The men will begin the event as they compete 8-kilometer race at 10 a.m. Following the men’s race the women will compete in the 5-kilometer race at 10:45 a.m.
Competing along with the Buckeyes will be Virginia, Mary Washington, Liberty, VMI, Richmond, VCU, Norfolk State, Christopher Newport, Hampton, Duke, James Madison, William and Mary and Virginia State.
MEN’S CROSS COUNTRY SEASON OUTLOOK
The Ohio State men’s cross country team has its sights set on fourth trip to the NCAA Championships since 2000. However, if the Buckeyes expect to qualify for the NCAA championships they will need some help from their incoming freshman to fill the void left by senior co-captains Rob Myers and Sjaan Gerth.
“I think the big question mark this year will be how our three state champion freshmen perform and whether or not they can come in and do well,” Gary said. “We also need last year’s freshman class to come in and not be freshmen again. If those two things happen I think we will definitely finish higher than we did last year at the NCAA meet.”
With the addition of three freshmen coupled with the squads’ six returning letterwinners, three of which who finished in the Top 35 at the 2003 Big Ten Championships, the Buckeyes figure to be one of the teams to beat at the 2004 Big Ten Championships and could push for a return trip to the NCAA championships.
“I think this is going to be one of the toughest years for us to make it to nationals because we have so many young people on the team,” Gary said. “I feel that if we can make it to the NCAA meet, then we should be able to place well. I think it has started to become a goal of the men’s cross country program to always place in the Top 3 at the conference meet and to always qualify for the national meet.”
WHO TO WATCH ON THE MEN’S SIDE
The loss of former co-captains Sjaan Gerth and Rob Myers certainly will make it tough on the Buckeyes, however coach Robert Gary feels confident the 2004 edition of the Ohio State men’s cross country team will be able to reload like several of his teams have done in the past.
This season, Gary will look to junior Brian Olinger, who Gary believes has the ability to challenge for one of the top spots in the Big Ten and has the potential to finish in the Top 15 at the NCAA championships. Olinger enters the season winning the 5,000-meter run at the 2004 Big Ten Track and Field Championships. Olinger also finished the 2004 track season by qualifying for the 2004 Mideast Regional as he competed in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
The Buckeyes also return Aaron Fisher and Dan Glaz. This past track season, Fisher, boasted the best time in the country in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, while Glaz returns to the team after posting a 12th finish at the 2003 Big Ten Cross Country Championships.
Gary also feels confident that freshmen Braden Martinez, Matt Buzek and John Ealy are all capable of making an immediate impact at the start of the 2004 season.
WOMEN’S CROSS COUNTRY SEASON OUTLOOK
The Ohio State women’s cross country team enters the 2004 season under the direction of third-year head coach Chad Myers. In Myers’ first two years at the helm, he has directed the Buckeyes to four meet victories including two last season. This season Ohio State will look to build upon its successes from 2003.
In their quest to become one of the Big Ten’s elite teams, the Buckeyes will be gunning for a Top 5 finish at the highly competitive Big Ten championships. During the offseason, Myers installed an attitude with his runners of setting goals, while establishing a solid training base.
“I think our goals this season are to try and get in the Top 5 in the Big Ten, qualify for the regional meet and to perform well enough at the regional meet that we are on the verge of qualifying for the national meet,” Myers said. “They are some pretty high goals, but I think they are within our reach.”
The Buckeyes enter the season returning six letterwinners, all of whom competed at the Big Ten championships a year ago. Myers enters the season with high expectations for the team and believes the squad gained some much-needed experience during the 2003 season.
“We are a very young team,” Myers said. “I think there is a little bit of hunger on this team. They all want to get to the next level and they all want to get better. I’m excited about the upcoming season and I see the desire to improve in the eyes of all the current runners.”
WHO TO WATCH ON THE WOMEN’S SIDE
With everyone, with the exception of Lyndsi Gay, returning to the team from a year ago, Myers will turn to senior Robyn Detty, junior Chelsea Poling and sophomore Nicole Gliem to lead the team. All four individuals competed on the team last season when the squad posted their best finish at the Big Ten championships since 1993.
Myers feels that Poling could consistently be the Buckeyes top individual this season. Last season, Poling finished 18th at the 2003 Big Ten Championships and just missed earning all-conference honors for the first time in her career.
“Chelsea has really began to take some excellent strides in becoming a great runner,” Myers said.
Although Poling could prove to be the top women’s runner though a majority of the upcoming season, Detty also is a candidate that could push for the No. 1 spot as well. Last season, Detty was one of the most consistent runners on the team as she finished in the Top 15 five times. Gliem also could be poised for a breakout season this fall after posting an impressive track season that saw her qualify for the 2004 Mideast Regional in the 5,000-meter-run.
2003 SEASON IN REVIEW
The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross-country teams both sported impressive seasons in 2003. The men’s team once again made tremendous strides in establishing itself as one of the top teams in the country as they qualified for the NCAA championships for the third time in four years under the direction of seventh-year head coach Robert Gary.
The men also held down a No. 7 ranking in the NCAA Mondo Cross Country Poll for much of the 2003 season. The Buckeyes’ No. 7 ranking was the highest such ranking of any Ohio State cross country team. Ohio State was led by senior Rob Myers who earned First Team All-Big Ten accolades.
The women’s team, under the direction of second-year head coach Chad Myers guided the Buckeyes to two first-place finishes and an eighth-place finish at the 2004 Big Ten Championships. The Buckeyes highlighted the season at the 2004 All-Ohio Invitational where they finished second among some of the top teams in the state. The women were led by senior Lyndsi Gay as she finished the season with four Top 10 finishes.
COACH ROBERT GARY
A seasoned veteran in both cross country and track and field, head cross country coach Robert Gary is not only recognized as an accomplished athlete, but he also has established himself as one of the elite coaches in the Big Ten Conference.
Now in his eighth season as Ohio State men’s cross country coach, Gary has taken the Buckeyes to new heights. During his tenure, Gary has guided the Buckeyes to the NCAA championships three times in the last four years and was named Ohio Cross Country Coach of the Year for the fourth consecutive year.
What sets Gary apart from other coaches is his innate ability to pass along his competitive drive and strong work ethic. While at Ohio State, Gary has coached four Ohio cross country runners of the year, numerous All-Big Ten selections and two All-Americans. Gary also thrives at coaching his athletes on the track.
As men’s distance coach for the track and field team, Gary has coached 10 All-Americans, 13 Big Ten champions including Rob Myers, who recently finished fourth at the 2004 United States Olympic Team Trails. Gary also has coached one Big Ten freshman of the year, two U.S. junior team members, one U.S. junior champion in the 10,000-meter run and he has coached a Big Ten champion in every distance event.
Academics also play a major role in Gary’s strategy, as he has coached two academic All-America teams (GPA over 3.0) and four academic All-America teams with distinction, while having two of his athletes nominated for the Big Ten Medal of Honor.
As an athlete, Gary qualified for his second Olympic team at the 2004 U.S. Olympic Trials in Sacramento, Calif., while competing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.
Gary also represented the United States in Atlanta as a member of the 1996 Olympic team in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. In the Olympic trials, he captured second place behind training partner and fellow Buckeye alum Mark Croghan. Gary recorded the eighth fastest time ever by an American in the 3,000 meter steeplechase. He is currently running for Adidas International and was a 2004 Olympian, again in the steeplechase.
Earlier in 2004, Gary was the top American finisher at the 2004 World Cross Country Championships, where he finished 33rd in a time of 12:12.0. While competing at Ohio State Gary etched his name into the record books as one of the all-time greats. Gary’s resume while at Ohio State includes All-America honors on six different occasions: cross country (1994-95), indoor track (3,000-meter run, 1995-96) and outdoor track (3,000 meter steeplechase, 1994-95). He remains the school record holder in the 3,000-meter run (indoor) with a time of 7:52.63, which broke the Big Ten record set by Indiana’s Bob Kennedy. Gary seized the Big Ten Championship in the 3,000-meter steeplechase in 1994 and He served as captain of the cross country team his junior and senior seasons.
Gary received a degree in English education from OSU in the fall of 1996. He is a 1991 graduate of Evanston (Ill.) Township High School, where he was the state champion in the two-mile and earned all-state honors in soccer.
COACH CHAD MYERS
The 2004 cross country season marks the third year at Ohio State for Chad Myers as coach of the women’s cross country team. In his first year, Myers spent the 2002 season assisting head cross country coach Robert Gary in taking the men’s and women’s cross country programs to new heights.
Last season, Myers continued to mold the women’s program into one of the top programs in the conference as he directed the Buckeyes to their best finish in the Big Ten since 1993. Ohio State also finished in first place on two different occasions during the 2003 season, while displaying an impressive second-place finish at the 2003 All-Ohio Invitational.
The addition of Myers in the fall of 2002 marked the beginning of Myers’ rebuilding phase for the women’s team, the squad Myers spent the most of his time with during the fall season. Under Myers’ guidance, the Ohio State women’s cross country team finished first at the Cincinnati Invitational and Notre Dame Invitational, while compiling a record of 45-19.
Cross country is not the only thing that has been on Myers’ mind. Since his arrival at Ohio State, seven of his runners have earned Academic All-Big Ten in his two years at the helm.
Prior to volunteering at Ohio State, Myers served three years as an assistant coach for the boys cross country team at Fairfield (Ohio) Union High School. He also served as the head distance coach for the boys track team.
During his tenure at Fairfield, Myers led the boys track and field program to two Top-10 finishes, two district championships and took the cross country program to several district and regional championships as well as two Top-12 finishes at the state meet.
As a competitor, Myers attended Otterbein College where served as captain of the cross country team from 1993-95. In 1994-95, Myers qualified for the national cross country meet and captured conference championship honors in the 10,000-meter run in 1996. Myers also was the All-Ohio 10,000-meter champion in 1994. In 1996, Myers was named the outstanding senior athlete for Otterbein College.
While at Otterbein College, Myers received his undergraduate degree in computer graphics/communications from Otterbein College in 1996. He received his associates degree in sports and fitness management at Columbus State University in 2001, graduating with honors. Myers also is a USA track and field level I certified coach.
The Ohio State men’s and women’s cross country teams travel to the Roy Griak Invitational in Minneapolis, Minn. The event feature more than 300 teams and is considered one of the top cross country meets in the country.