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    Women's Cross Country

    Fighting Illini Open Season At Redbird Challenge

    Sept. 4, 2004

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    Illinois' women's cross country team began its season today at the Redbird Challenge in Bloomington, Ill. The Illini, running their `B' team, managed a second place finish, behind the host Redbirds. Fighitng Illini runners finished sixth, seventh, eighth, 10th, 11th, 15th and 16th.

    "We did pretty well out there," head coach Karen Harvey said. "The ladies ran a great race. The freshmen ran in a pack, listened to what we talked about and executed, I was really pleased with all of them. Whitney Laurence ran a fantastic race."

    Sophomore Michelle LaMantia finished as the Illini's top runner, covering the 4K course in 15:27 for a sixth place showing. Just behind her was Laurence, who placed seventh in 15:39, and Erin Frommeyer, who ran 15:43 for an eighth placed finish.

    Katie Coppin took tenth in 15:44 and Rachel Hernandez rounded out the scoring, placing 11th with a time of 15:49. Elise Stott ran 15th in 16:54 and Ruth Swedler was 16th, clocking 17:03.

    "I'm thrilled with how far Michelle has come from the fall of last year," Harvey said. "She ran a full two minutes faster than she did this time last season. I use her as an example when I talk to our freshmen. She struggled last year, but stayed with the program and now look where she's at."

    "We needed to get in the uniforms and get the jitters out," Harvey said. "Next weekend I expect the team to run harder and run better."

    Illinois will host its only home meet of the season, the Illini Pack-It-Up Challenge, next Saturday at the UI Arboretum. The race is scheduled to begin at 9 a.m.

    Today's Illinois Results:

    1. Michelle LaMantia (6)	15:27
    2. Whitney Laurence (7)	15:39
    3. Erin Frommeyer (8)	15:43
    4. Katie Coppin (10)		15:44
    5. Rachel Hernandez (11)15:49
    6. Elise Stott (15)		16:54
    7. Ruth Swedler (16)	17:03

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