Junior Stephanie Baliga makes her season debut on Friday
Sept. 17, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 10 Illini women's cross country team heads to Normal, Ill. on Friday to compete in the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships. The race will begin at 4:30 p.m. Coming off of a successful weekend at the Bradley Open, the Orange and Blue will look to continue to work as a team toward victory.
"Last year we were able to come away with the team championship, so one of the goals for us would be to go back there and try to win again," cross country coach Jeremy Rasmussen said. "We are not running our full squad, so it is a bit more challenging for us to try to win the meet. However, we can continue to work together and improve."
Junior Stephanie Baliga and freshman Kristin Sutherland are Illini to watch as they make their season debuts this Friday. Baliga, who sat out last track season due to injury, was part of the 2007 traveling squad that placed sixth at the NCAA Championships. Sutherland, the high school state cross country and two mile champion as a senior in the 2007-08 season, hopes to make an immediate impact in her first race for the Fighting Illini.
Also racing this weekend are sophomores Stacy Hague and Kate Tysse and junior Elizabeth Boyle. All three runners have had success so far this season as Boyle and Hague have both placed first for the Orange and Blue at the Illini Challenge and Bradley Open, respectively, and Tysse has been a close second in both races.
"I am looking forward to Baliga and Sutherland being up front and helping to lead the team this weekend," Rasmussen said. "Each week, we face better and better competition and each week we need raise the level a bit more. The next thing we need to work on is continuing to raise ourselves to the level of competition and making sure that we run above that level of competition."
Following the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, the Orange and Blue can look forward to a weekend off before traveling to the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Oct. 3 at 1:00 p.m.