Women's Cross Country

Jeremy Rasmussen
Jeremy Rasmussen

Cross Country Coach

Alma Mater:
Arizona State University

Jeremy Rasmussen begins his second season as Illinois women's cross country coach and assistant women's track and field coach after a highly successful debut season that saw the Illini continue their progression to becoming one of the nation's elite distance programs.

The Illini recorded a sixth-place finish at the 2007 NCAA Cross Country Championships under the direction of Rasmussen, the program's second-best finish in school history. Sophomore Angela Bizzarri earned All-America accolades for the second consecutive season, finishing in 14th place at the national meet.

Rasmussen also guided the Illini to a successful showing at the 2007 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships. Illinois took home second place, while Bizzarri, Katie Engel and Danelle Woods all earned All-Region honors.

Illinois fared well at the 2007 Big Ten Championships in Columbus, Ohio, under Rasmussen's tutelage, finishing in fourth place in one of the most competitive conference meets in the country. Bizzarri finished in third place and was named first-team All-Big Ten, while Engel finished in 13th and was second-team All-Big Ten. In addition, Woods was named the 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year after finishing as the top newcomer at the conference championships.

Rasmussen led the Illini to a top-10 national ranking for the duration of the season as the team finished second at the prestigious Notre Dame Invitational and Bizzarri took fourth at the Pre-National meet.

In addition to Illinois' team cross country success, Rasmussen coached Bizzarri to one of the most successful individual athletic years in school history. Bizzarri earned three All-America accolades as a sophomore in 2007-08, following up her performance at the NCAA Cross Country Championships by anchoring the Illini distance medley record to a school record and sixth-place finish at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.

Most notably, however, was Bizzarri's performance in the 5,000m on the outdoor track. Rasmussen coached her to a number of accolades in what is now her signature event, as Bizzarri was runner-up at the NCAA Outdoor Championships, the NCAA Mideast Regional champion and runner-up at the Big Ten Championships. Bizzarri also made the 5,000m final at the U.S. Olympic Team Trials in Eugene, Ore., running a personal-best 15:46.08 in event preliminaries. For her accomplishments, Bizzarri received the Dike Eddleman Award as Illinois' female athlete of the year.

Rasmussen also coached freshmen Woods and Chantelle Groenewoud to appearances at the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 3,000m steeplechase in 2008, after Woods was NCAA Mideast Regional champion in the event and Groenewoud was close behind in second. Rasmussen joined the Illini in the summer of 2007 after spending the previous three seasons working with the men's and women's track and field and cross country teams at Arizona State. A former student-athlete for the Sun Devils, Rasmussen was elevated to assistant coach in the 2006 season after serving as a graduate assistant for two seasons and as a volunteer coach during the 2003-04 season.

As a member of the Arizona State staff, Rasmussen helped the Sun Devil distance corps become one of the nation's elite. The women's cross country team finished second at the Pac-10 Championships each of Rasmussen's three years with the program. In addition, Rasmussen helped guide the Sun Devils to a fourth-place finish at the NCAA Cross Country Championships in 2005 and 13th-place finish in 2006.

A star in the steeplechase as a student-athlete, Rasmussen has worked with several of the top steeplers in the nation in recent years, including four-time Pac-10 steeplechase champion Aaron Aguayo and women's champions Amy Hastings, Anna Masinelli and Brooke Bennett. Prior to the 2006 cross country season, Rasmussen also worked with Lisa (Aguilera) Galaviz as she won the 3,000m steeplechase at the 2006 USA Track & Field Championships.

Prior to his coaching and administrative duties, Rasmussen starred for the Sun Devils in both cross country and track and field. The 2000 Pac-10 champion in the 3,000m steeplechase and runner-up in both 2001 and 2002, Rasmussen helped the 2001 ASU men break the 100-point barrier at the conference competition for the first time in program history. In cross country, Rasmussen assisted the men's team in making history as the 1999 squad advanced to its first NCAA Championships appearance, placing 14th.

A Minnesota native and graduate of Mountain Ridge High School in Glendale, Ariz., Rasmussen earned his bachelor's degree in computer information systems from Arizona State in 2003 and his master's in higher education from ASU in 2006. Rasmussen is certified as a USA Track and Field Level 2 coach.