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September 5, 2010

College Report: North running duo glad to be at ISU

TERRE HAUTE — Lindy Jones and Alexa McFadden helped form the backbone of the Terre Haute North track and field and cross country programs for the past four years, comprising half of the school’s 3,200-meter relay team that finished 17th in the IHSAA state meet last spring.

Jones and McFadden have decided to continue their running careers together at Indiana State, and the Sycamore coaches are very pleased.

“Lindy and Alexa have been great athletes in Terre Haute and Vigo County, and I am very excited to have them continue their running careers as Sycamores,” ISU women’s track and field coach Angie Martin said. “They will add great depth to our cross country program and they are training hard with Coach Gartland right now. I can’t wait to have them on the track. Their versatility will help us in the 800 meters on up.”

John Gartland, ISU women’s cross country coach, echoes Martin’s sentiments.

“I am delighted that Lindy and Alexa are running cross country for us this fall, and they have both looked very good in early workouts. Their background with Mike Dason and the strong Terre Haute North program has allowed them to step into our training program very comfortably.  They will both make their collegiate debuts next week at the Sycamore Pride Meet.”

Jones was a four-time letter winner in both cross country and basketball at Terre Haute North and had personal bests of 19 minutes, eight seconds in the 5K and 16:06 in the 4K for cross country and a personal best 11:41.06 in the 3,200 during the track and field season.

“Lindy will be able to contribute to our team in cross country and has a lot of potential on the track,” Martin said. “Lindy is an athletic young woman. Not only was she a good high school runner but she was also a four-time varsity letter winner in basketball.”

Jones liked the proximity of ISU, and hopes to continue the long pipeline of success of Terre Haute athletes having success for the Sycamores.

“I chose ISU because it’s close to home and the coaching staff was always really encouraging since we were from Terre Haute,” Jones said. “It’s just a good feeling to run in front of the same community and be able to continue our relationships that we have built with friends and family who will be able to watch us compete.

Jones is looking forward to the overall intensity level of being a college athlete and the competition level.

“Everyone at Division I is very serious about what they do,” she said. “I need to keep working on the mental side of running, because I know that our coaches here have prepared me physically to be able to be a great runner and now I just have to stay focused and prove that on the course.”

McFadden had a personal best of 20:32 in the 5K cross country and a personal best 2:24.89 in the 800 meters during the track and field season.

“Alexa is another good athlete from the reputable Terre Haute North program,” Martin said. “Her high school coaches did a nice job in moving her up from the sprints to the middle distance events. Alexa has great potential on the track and will help add depth to our cross country squad. She is a young cross country runner and I am excited to watch her develop within our program.”

She also competed in the 2009 State Cross Country Championship, and additionally won four sectional and two regional titles in the 800 meters and as a member of the 3,200 relay team.

McFadden had never run cross country before her senior year at North, and is understandably still adjusting to the different challenges the sport offers.

“I definitely need to work on my endurance and getting used to the longer distances and more mileage each week,” she said. “The training level is definitely a step up and the amount of focus to have me more focused and more committed. Definitely I can be more mentally prepared for competition.

“It’s close to home and when I came on my visit here I got to meet the coaches and the team,” she added. “I really felt like I would be a good asset to the team.”

ISU also added four other track/cross country athletes for the 2010-2011 school year in sprinter Rachael Johnson of Gibson Southern, hurdler Jasmine Milton of Fort Wayne Northrop, vaulter Nicole Hope of Wilmington, Ohio, and distance runner Jessica Zangmeister of Fairview Park, Ohio, who is transferring from the University of Kentucky.

• • •

• Newton glad to keep playing – Shakamak grad Billy Newton wasn’t sure he was going to continue his basketball career at the collegiate level after becoming his school’s career scoring leader last year with more than 1,900 points.

But, a late offer from Oakland City will allow the versatile 6-5 forward to continue his career at a convenient location.

“The main reason I chose OCU is it’s kind of close by home so I can go home on the weekends,” he said. “I didn’t want to go to a school like in Florida, for instance, and never be able to go home. I also like the gym – it’s the same colors as Shakamak [light blue and white], so it feels like home.

“I also like that it is a small and very nice school,” Newton added. “Since I come from a 1A high school, it’s not overwhelming to me. Everyone here is very nice and respectful, as well.”

The Oaks have a traditionally strong program, and that’s another good drawing card.

“They won 19 games last year, and I would like to help them get to the 20-game mark or more each year,” Newton said. “Basketball at the next level will be more difficult for me, but I will be able to adjust pretty fast.”

Joey Bennett is a former Tribune-Star sports reporter and copy editor who now teaches at Northview High School in Brazil. He can be reached at tribstarcollegereport@yahoo.com

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