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May 15, 2002
USI track team gets three into NCAA II National Championships
The University of Southern Indiana track team had three runners make the final entry list for the NCAA Division II National Championships, which will take place Thursday, May 23 through Saturday, May 25 in San Angelo, Texas. It marks the first time since 1999 that the Screaming Eagles have had three runners make it to nationals.
Sophomore distance runner Joey Byrne (Georgetown, Indiana) earned a spot in the men’s 3000-meter steeplechase with his season-best time of 9:11.86. The time is 10th among the 16 runners that will run in the event.
An All-American in cross country last fall, Byrne has shined in big meets this season. He won the steeplechase at the Great Lakes Valle Conference Championships and at the Butler Qualifier in addition to winning the 5,000 meters at the Gerald England Invitational and the Washington University Invitational. Byrne also won the GLVC championship in cross country.
“Joey showed everyone last fall that he loves to perform on the national stage,” Head Coach Mike Hillyard explained. “The higher the stakes, the better he performs. He believes that he can run with anyone in the field and, as a distance runner, that is half the battle.”
Junior distance runner Jenny Farmer (Princeton, Indiana) will be making her second consecutive trip to the NCAA II National Championships as she moved up to 10th in the women’s 3,000-meter run. Farmer set a school record in the event, running a 10:02.32 at the Billy Hayes Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana. She also set a school record in the 800 meters (2:17.87) and was two seconds off a school record in the 1,500 meters.
Farmer won GLVC championships in the 1,500 meters and the 3,000 meters and finished first in five of the eight races she ran this spring. She qualified for indoor nationals in the mile earlier this year and was an All-Region performer as well as a national qualifier in cross country as a sophomore in 2000. Farmer also has won the last six races she has run at GLVC Indoor and Outdoor Championship meets.
“Her entire spring campaign has been sensational,” Hillyard said of Farmer. “Jenny deserves all of the success that she has had this year and it certainly is not an accident. Her goals are always set high, so I would not be surprised by anything she accomplishes at the national meet.”
Freshman distance runner Casey Schneider (New Salisbury, Indiana) set a school record with her 36:36.60 in the women’s 10,000-meter run at the Hillsdale Gina Relays. The time placed her 12th in the event for the NCAA II Championships. Schneider is the first USI freshman to qualify for nationals since Jennifer McIntyre qualified in the 10,000 meters in 1999.
Schneider has come on strong this spring, but it has been no surprise to Hillyard. “I knew when I recruited her that she had the ability to qualify for nationals as a freshman, and I told her so at that time.”
However, Schneider’s performance at the Hillsdale Gina Relays was surprising to Hillyard and his coaching staff. “To be quite honest, we were all a bit shocked when she ran 36:36.60. I didn't expect she would run quite that fast.”
Byrne, Farmer, Schneider, and Hillyard will leave for nationals Tuesday, May 21.
USI Sports Information