Freshman stand out Danelle Woods led the Illini with a second overall finish in her collegiate debut at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships on Friday.
Sept. 14, 2007
Highly-recruited freshman Danelle Woods took second-place at the 5K Illinois Intercollegiate Championship Friday night in Normal, Ill., as she led the Orange and Blue to the team crown, crossing the finishing line in a time of 17:27.75 in her collegiate debut. After earning a first-place ranking in the Midwest Region and a No. 6 ranking from the United States Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association in the NCAA first Division I cross country poll earlier this week, the Illini kept their veterans from competition, giving their extensive roster and talented freshmen experience in a competitive atmosphere.
"Our two top freshmen, Danelle Woods and Chantelle Groenewoud, ran very well," head coach Jeremy Rasmussen said. "Everyone ran the race they were supposed to and I'm very pleased with the outcome. This is a benchmark for our team in that we stayed patient at the beginning of the race and ran through the field."
Closely following Woods at the lead of the pack was a wave of orange in fellow freshman stand out Chantelle Groenewoud coming in fourth with a time of 17:56.05, and sophomores Abby Shunk (18:07.33) and Theresa Brokaw (18:08.52) in fourth and fifth, respectively. Rounding out the top seven for the Illini was sophomore Jamie Brusa (9, 18:16.65), freshman Kate Tysse (13, 18:25.74) and junior Liz Mengyan (15, 18:28.34).
The Illinois Intercollegiate Championships returned after a hiatus of 21 years to provide a loaded field of 20 teams from the NCAA, the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) the opportunity to compete against each other. The finishes by the Illini allowed them to tally a mere 26 points to take the team title by 41 points over their nearest competitor, Illinois State University (67). Coming in a distant third was Northwestern with 114 followed by Loyola Chicago with 146.
The Illini will have two weeks to rally themselves together before they showcase their top talent at the Notre Dame Invitational on Sept. 28 in South Bend, Ind.
"There were six individuals that didn't run tonight that will make their season debut at Notre Dame," Rasmussen said. "I can only travel 12 to that meet, so the next week and half will be very important. The season is starting out slowly and we will continue to grow and develop as a group to meet our goal at the end of the year."
Illinois Results: 1) Danelle Woods (2) 17:27.75 2) Chantelle Groenewoud (4) 17:56.05 3) Abby Shunk (5) 18:07.33 4) Theresa Brokaw (6) 18:08.52 5) Jamie Brusa (9) 18:16.65 6) Kate Tysse (13) 18:25.74 7) Liz Mengyan (15) 18:28.34