FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – The Indiana cross country program has competed in three meets this season and at each meet at least one Hoosier has turned in a performance worthy of Big Ten Runner of the Week honors.
This week, two Hoosiers did just that. The conference has honored redshirt freshman Andy Bayer and senior Wendi Robinson for their efforts at the Paul Short Invitational on Friday.
Both runners earned the award for the first time in their careers. It is the third award this season for the men’s team, and Robinson’s honor is the first for the women’s team since 2004, when Jessica Gall took the honors. Gall and Sean Jefferson were both honored on Sept. 21, 2004, which is the only other time both teams had an honoree in the same week since the Big Ten started the weekly honors.
Indiana head coach Ron Helmer said the honors come as a team effort and feels it shows the growth of the program. Robinson, one of the best distance runners in IU history, claims the first weekly honor of her career in cross country or track and field. Helmer said the award is well deserved.
“For the third meet in a row, we have had a guy earn the weekly award,” Helmer said, “and it has been three different runners. 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,” Helmer said. “She absolutely is one of the best distance runners in the conference, but the Big Ten is a great conference. You can have an outstanding career and never be honored with a weekly award. It is good to see her get the nod.”
Bayer paced Indiana to a team title at the Paul Short Run last week, crossing the tape in 23:42, just two seconds behind the event’s frontrunner. The time marked a new career best in the 8,000-meter event for the Leo, Ind., native, who shed 1:10 off his previous individual record to become the first Hoosier to break the 24-minute barrier this season.
His performance, which was good enough for third place, ties the redshirt freshman for fifth all-time on the Goodman Campus Course at Lehigh. One of four Hoosiers to finish in the top 20, Bayer led an Indiana squad that defeated 2008 NCAA runner-up and No. 7-ranked Iona and a North Carolina State team that is ranked No. 19 in the latest USTFCCCA poll.
Robinson led the women’s cross country team to a top-three finish at the Paul Short Run, as the Hoosiers finished third, behind only fourth-ranked West Virginia and the top team in Canada, Guelph. Robinson completed the 6,000-meter in 20:04 – the 10th-fastest time in the course’s history. The Danville, Ind., native turned in a fourth-place finish, leading a trio of Hoosiers among the top 20.
The Hoosiers return to action when they host the Sam Bell Invitational on Oct. 17. For all things IU cross country, stay tuned to IUHoosiers.com.