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Women's Cross Country/Track and Field

May 22, 2002

USI track team takes show to Nationals
Byrne/Farmer to run in prelims while Schneider runs in finals

The University of Southern Indiana track team will compete in the NCAA Division II Outdoor Track and Field Championships tomorrow evening in San Angelo, Texas. All three runners that the Screaming Eagles are taking to nationals will be in action.

Junior distance runner Jenny Farmer (Princeton, Indiana) will be the first competitor for USI as she runs in the second preliminary of the women’s 3,000 meter, the first of which is scheduled to start at 6:20 p.m. (CDT). Farmer ranks 10th among the field with her school-record 10:02.32, which she set at the Billy Hayes Invitational in Bloomington, Indiana.

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.

“Her entire spring campaign has been sensational,” Head Coach Mike 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.”

Sophomore distance runner Joey Byrne (Georgetown, Indiana) also is competing in preliminaries tomorrow evening. Byrne will make his run for the finals in the second of two preliminaries of the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase, which are scheduled to start at 7:50 p.m. (CDT).

An All-American in cross country last fall, Byrne enters the event ranked 10th among the 16 participants in the field. Byrne won the steeplechase at the Great Lakes Valley 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. He also won the GLVC championship in cross country.

“Joey showed everyone last fall that he loves to perform on the national stage,” 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.”

The finals in the women’s 3,000 meters and the men’s 3,000-meter steeplechase are determined by the top five from each heat and the next two best times from both heats.

Freshman distance runner Casey Schneider (New Salisbury, Indiana) is ranked 12th in the women’s 10,000 meter field and will run Thursday at 9:10 p.m. (CDT). Schneider set a school record with her 36:36.60 at the Hillsdale Gina Relays and 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.”
Dan McDonnell,
USI Sports Information

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