News From Terre Haute, Indiana

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November 22, 2013

Terre Haute’s Mundy helping young Hoosiers climb toward top

TERRE HAUTE — It didn’t take long for Chanli Mundy to find her way home from Bloomington.

The 2011 Terre Haute North all-state cross country runner arrived on the Indiana University campus this summer knowing making the varsity team might be a long shot.

But she put in the quality miles, believed in herself and is ahead of schedule as a freshman for the Hoosiers, who received an at-large berth to Saturday’s NCAA championships at LaVern Gibson Championship Course.

Mundy was IU’s fifth runner to finish at the Great Lakes Region meet, running a 6,000-meter time of 22 minutes, three seconds.

“I definitely have some big goals for myself,” Mundy said. “This year, goal was be top 10 or 12 [on the team] and I never expected to be in the top-seven lineup. That was a surprising goal.”

While Mundy was among the elite in the state as a junior in high school, her senior cross country campaign didn’t live up to those standards.

“It was just one of those seasons where you don’t really know why things are going wrong and you can’t really explain it. In terms of this year, it helped me a lot to start under a new plate. New teammates, new coaches, new atmosphere: that helped me get going into this season,” Mundy said.

In October, Mundy and the Hoosiers had a breakout day at the adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis., led by Kelsey Duerksen.

IU placed 12th out of 37 teams, knocking off now 23rd-ranked Notre Dame, No. 24 Cornell and No. 28 Wisconsin. Mundy was IU’s No. 5 that day as well, running a 6K time of 21:17.

IU was a solid sixth at the region meet, and a disappointing sixth in the Big Ten meet as the Hoosiers have been without Duerksen.

“We were kind of hoping for second place on a good day,” Mundy said, “but the boys won so it was a bittersweet feeling.”

Mundy is one of three freshman that have been among the Hoosiers’ top five, with Samantha Ginther the only senior in the lineup.

“We’re finally getting it put together. Just like with everything else, you have to have kids competing for spots,” said IU coach Ron Helmer, who has had men’s teams crack the top 10 in the nation in recent years.

The Hoosier women are ranked just outside the top 30 so they’ll need to overachieve to knock off a few teams Saturday.

“Coming into the season, no one knew what the girls team was capable of,” Mundy said. “We ourselves knew we were going to shock some people. We like to say ‘We came in like a wrecking ball.’ Being excited for those races during the season to surprise people is what got us going.”

No matter the outcome, it’s valuable experience for an ambitious group of underclassmen.

“All the freshmen, we knew each one of us would have to put in the work to do it. We had the goal of being on varsity, but we weren’t sure what the expectation was,” Mundy said. “We also have the sophomores who are trying to get spots. It’s constant desire to be good. This season, we’re starting a tradition. We want to be great.”

Mundy was a perfect fit for the IU program, Helmer explained. She is thriving in a competitive environment.

“Takes kids that want this kind of a challenge. For us, while we’re qualified, we’re sixth in the Big Ten. We're not nearly as good as we want to be, as we need to be,” Helmer said. “There's a lot of girls that would prefer to take more [scholarship] money to go to an easier situation. I'm looking for girls that can embrace the challenge. There's way too many who would prefer to be No. 1 on a bad team.

“That’s where Chanli fits in particular. She just wants to be on a good team. Whether she’s No. 1 or or No. 8, she’s good with those challenges. That’s her greatest atttribute.”

With Terre Haute hoping to be the NCAA site again in the next four years, Mundy might be returning again in the future.

But for now, she’ll enjoy the moment.

“One of my three goals was to perform at LaVern again in front of everyone for nationals,” Mundy said. “I’ve been so excited about it. It’s been a crazy ride for sure. With all the support we’ll have there, it’s going to help me stay relaxed and know I’m running for Terre Haute and for IU.”

 

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