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2004 Men's Track and Field Outlook

The University of Southern Indiana menís track and field team enters the 2004 indoor and outdoor seasons with one of the strongest distance squads in the GLVC. The Screaming Eagles, which won the GLVC Cross Country championship in the fall, are looking to improve upon a pair of sixth-place performances last spring.

Leading the Eagles into the 2004 campaign is junior Doug Schwartz (Centralia, Illinois) and sophomore Jesse Davis (Bloomington, Indiana). Schwartz is coming off a solid cross country campaign that saw him earn All-GLVC and All-Region honors.

During the 2003 track and field season, Schwartz earned a combined three All-GLVC awards in indoor and outdoor track and narrowly missed a fourth All-GLVC award after finishing third in the 3,000 meters at the GLVC Outdoor Championships.

In 2004, Schwartz will see action in both the indoor and outdoor 5,000 meters. He competed in the mile, the 1,500 meters, and the 3,000 meters at both the indoor and outdoor GLVC Championships last year.

Like Schwartz, Davis also is coming off a strong cross country campaign. He earned All-GLVC honors and just missed out on All-Region honors after finishing 16th at the Great Lakes Regional Championships.

Davis is expected to compete in the mile during the indoor season before moving up to the 5,000 meters during the outdoor season.

Surrounding Schwartz and Davis will be one of the deepest distance squads in the country.

Junior Will Siemers (Bensenville, Illinois), sophomore Rob Garwood (Columbus, Indiana), and freshman Danny Fisher (Nashville, Indiana) are all expected to compete in the 5,000 meters during the indoor season and the 10,000 meters during the outdoor season.

Siemers is coming off a cross country campaign that saw him earn All-GLVC honors after finishing eighth at the GLVC Championships. He posted NCAA II provisional qualifying times in both the 5,000 and 10,000 meters during the outdoor season in 2003.

Garwood came on strong last spring as he finished third at the GLVC Outdoor Championships in the 10,000 meters. Fisher is making his first appearance on USIís track and field team after an 18th-place finish at the GLVC Cross Country Championships last fall.

Two more runners the Eagles are excited about are junior David Tyler (Evansville, Indiana) and freshman Justin Thomas (Indianapolis, Indiana). Tyler surprised everyone last fall as he finished 13th at the GLVC Cross Country Championships.

Thomas finished in 20th in the 2001 IHSAA Cross Country Championships and could be the surprise of the spring after red-shirting during the fall cross country season. He helped Carmel High School to a pair of second-place finishes at the IHSAA Cross Country Championships.

Both Thomas and Tyler are expected to compete in the 5,000 meters during the indoor season and the 10,000 meters during the outdoor season.

With a strong core of distance runners, the Eagles will look to junior Zach Toothman (Tell City, Indiana) and sophomore Jake England (Valparaiso, Indiana) to carry the load in the middle distance events, particularly in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.

With the loss of Mark Thurner to graduation, the Eagles will face their biggest loss in the 3,000-meter steeplechase. Thurner qualified for nationals a year ago, marking the second consecutive season the Eagles had sent a runner to nationals in the steeplechase.

However, the Eagles feel confident that Toothman and England will get the job done this spring. Toothman finished seventh in the steeplechase at the GLVC Championships last spring and is the fourth-best returnee in the steeplechase from last seasonís GLVC meet.

England showed potential as a freshman in the steeplechase, finishing 10th at the leagueís outdoor meet.

USI also will depend upon a core of sprinters and fielders in 2004 to provide points at the GLVC Championships.

In 2004, the Eagles are looking to fill a strong 4x100 and 4x400-meter relay squad. To do so, the Eagles will look to sophomore Tim Bill (Lawrenceburg, Indiana) and junior Brad Orndorff (Greenfield, Indiana). Bill, who will compete individually, is expected to run the lead leg of USIís 4x400-meter relay team.

Orndorff should help USIís relay teams, but his impact for the Eagles will be felt in the hurdles. He finished third in the 400-meter hurdles and fourth in the 110-meter hurdles at the GLVC Outdoor Championships a year ago.

In addition to competing in the heptathlon, senior Brian Kendall (Elizabeth, Indiana) should provide another capable runner in USIís sprint relay teams. Kendall competed in the 100 and 400 meters a year ago as well as all of USIís sprint relay teams.

Kendall is expected to provide scoring for the Eagles in the Heptathlon after finishing fifth in the event at the GLVC Outdoor Championships last spring.

Freshman Bryan Croce (Newburgh, Indiana) and junior Tom Cunningham (Bridgeport, Illinois) also will compete on USIís sprint relay teams. Croce helped Memorial High School to a pair of sectional championships. Cunningham should be a factor for the Eagles in both the 200 and 400 meters as well.

In the field, USI will look to freshman Marcus Clark (Indianapolis, Indiana) to compete in the high jump and freshman Luke Keller (Jasper, Indiana) to compete in the throwing events. Keller could be a scorer at the conference championships as he was a state finalist in the shot put as a junior.


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