Angela Bizzarri was NCAA runner-up in the 5,000m and also advanced to the 5,000m final at the U.S. Olympic Trials
Jan. 2, 2009
8. Staff member part of 2008 Track and Field Olympic Team Staff
Randy Ballard, our athletic trainer, was selected as one of the medical professionals to be a part of the USA Olympic Team in Beijing, China. With prior international experience to his credentials, Ballard spent almost a month with the USA Track and Field team in China helping them reach their potential. Our program is very fortunate to have such a track enthusiast and well respected trainer in our corner.
7. Fall Semester Team GPA of 3.48 with five 4.0 individuals
This speaks for itself. What an outstanding accomplishment by 24 dedicated individuals toward their degrees. The five individuals that earned a 4.0 for the fall semester are Stephanie Baliga (has a cumulative 4.0 after five semesters), Elizabeth Boyle, Casey Miller, Maggie Mulchrone and Kate Tysse. I am very proud of this accomplishment by the team and enjoy that the team has such high standards for themselves.
6. All-Academic Teams in Cross Country and Track
Once again, another great accomplishment for the members of the Fighting Illini women's track and field/cross country program. In order to be considered for this award, the team must meet the minimum requirement of a 3.25 cumulative GPA for all team members that used a season of eligibility for cross country and a 3.0 cumulative GPA for track and field. This is the first time in program history that this has been accomplished back to 2003 when the USTFCCCA started to award both awards.
5. NCAA Mideast Regional Track and Field Championships
Leading up to the regional championships, a record five individuals qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships in outdoor track and field. Those five individuals qualifying for regionals had eight qualifying marks from the 800m to the 5000m. Four of the five individuals qualified in the 1500m which tied with two other schools across the nation with the most individuals qualifying for the 1500m. Once we got to the championships we were once again successful, walking away from the championships with two individual champions (Danelle Woods - 3K Steeplechase, Angela Bizzarri - 5000m) and three national qualifiers (Woods, Bizzarri and Chantelle Groenewould - 3K Steeplechase).
4. Two All-American Cross Country Runners
For the first time in school history two individuals garnered the honor of All-American in the same season. Katie Engel earned her first All-America honor by placing 22nd at the NCAA Championships in Terre Haute, Ind. in a time of 20:30. The other individual that earned All-America status was Angela Bizzarri. This was Angela's third cross country All-American honor by placing 6th overall in a school-record breaking time of 19:59.
3. Sixth Place Distance Medley Relay at NCAA Indoor Championships
The team of Danelle Woods, Omoye Ugiagbe, Rachel Hernandez and Angela Bizzarri set a school record of 11:09.09 to qualify for the championships at the last chance meet at Notre Dame. One week later, that same group showed that they were for real when they placed sixth at the NCAA Championships in Fayetteville, Ark. This was the first time in school history to have a DMR team make it to the NCAA meet as well as earn All-American honors.
2. Continuing the streak, four straight Top 10 finishes at the NCAA Cross Country Championships
Getting to nationals in cross country is one of the most difficult things to accomplish in the NCAA. The size of the field is less than half the size of most NCAA sports(32 compared to 64). To be able to finish in the top 10 four years straight is an outstanding accomplishment that has only been duplicated by Stanford's program. Looking back through history, not many programs in the nation can say that they have accomplished this feat.
1. School record holder Angela Bizzarri becomes the NCAA 5,000m National Runner-Up and U.S. Olympic Trials Finalist
The former 1500m specialist, Bizzarri ended her 2008 track and field campaign with a personal best in the prelims of the US Olympic Trials in Eugene, Ore. to make the final of the event running 15:45.78. She was one of two collegiate runners to make the final. Angela put a stamp in the history book when she took second place in the 5,000m at the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa in June. For all of Angela's accomplishments during the year, she was awarded with the Dike Eddleman Award given to the top female athlete at the University of Illinois.
I hope that 2008 was a successful year for you as well and 2009 brings us all another great year.
Happy New Year!