Women's Cross Country
Fighting Illini Crush Six Ranked Teams at Notre Dame

20th-ranked Illini placed 2nd at the Notre Dame Invitational
20th-ranked Illini placed 2nd at the Notre Dame Invitational

Oct. 1, 2005

Illinois performed a monumental upset of six nationally ranked teams Friday afternoon with their second place finish in their first appearance at the Notre Dame Invitational. The Orange and Blue marked up 82 team points, a mere five behind 2004 Big Ten Champion Michigan, who is ranked fifth nationally.

Coming into the meet with a ranking of 20th, Illinois overcame third-ranked Notre Dame (3), tenth-ranked Arkansas (5), 12th-ranked Wake Forest (4), 18th-ranked Butler (7), 24th-ranked Missouri (9), and 29th-ranked Michigan State (6).

"I was really pleased with the girls' effort today," head coach Karen Harvey said. "I think we came out and proved how much of a threat we can be in these big races."

All eight of Illinois' runners crossed the line with a new personal best. Junior Cassie Hunt led the Illini's effort with her fifth place finish of 16:52, placing her third in the Illinois 5K record book . Junior Stephanie Simms shattered her previous personal 5K best by 52 seconds with her seventh place finish. Rounding out the Illini's top five were sophomore Maggie Carroll (21), freshman Katie Engel (23), and sophomore Katie Coppin (27).

"We were competing against some really good teams in this race," said Simms. "I think that was an incentive that pushed our pack even harder toward that finish line."

Illinois cross country alumnae Jaime Turilli also marked a record-breaking day in the Notre Dame co-ed open race with her first place finish of 17:10, a full one minute ahead of her closest challenger. Turilli has emerged a champion and with a personal record for two weekends in a row.

The Fighting Illini will be back in action on October 8 at the Saluki Invitational in Carbondale, Ill. Complete results from the Notre Dame Invitational can be found at http://und.collegesports.com/.

Illini Results:

1) Cassie Hunt (5) 16:52
2) Stephanie Simms (7) 17:07
3) Maggie Carroll (21) 17:34
4) Katie Engel (23) 17:36
5) Katie Coppin (27) 17:40