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    Women's Cross Country

    Illini to Fight for Big Ten Title
    Junior Cassie Hunt's fifth place finish in 2004 holds the best Illinois individual finish record at Big Tens.

    Junior Cassie Hunt's fifth place finish in 2004 holds the best Illinois individual finish record at Big Tens.

    Oct. 27, 2005

    Illinois women's cross country will compete for a chance at the program's first-ever Big Ten Title this Sunday, October 30 in St. Paul, Minn. Entering the contest ranked sixth nationally and first regionally, the Illini will take on four other nationally ranked teams, including Michigan (3), Minnesota (11), Michigan State (23), and Iowa (30).

    After taking third in their race and fifth overall at Pre-Nationals behind Michigan, the Orange and Blue are determined to upset the 2004 Big Ten Champions for the conference crown. Illinois took second to Michigan at the Notre Dame Invite by only five team points.

    "We are ready! Everyone is healthy and feeling fast," Head Coach Karen Harvey said. "It is going to be a battle between three teams, Michigan, Minnesota and Illinois. The team race will be very competitive and maybe decided by just a few points."

    In 2004, Illinois finished second as a team, tying the program's best ever finish of second taken in 1984 and automatically qualifying Illinois for its first-ever NCAA appearance. Three Illini went home with All-Big Ten honors, Cassie Hunt, Jaime Turilli and Maggie Carroll finishing fifth, sixth and tenth, respectively. Hunt was also the first Illini to break into the top five individual finishers in the Big Ten Championships with her fifth place finish in 2004.

    "This is the best team Illinois has ever put on the line," Harvey said. "Both Coach Sullivan and I feel very confident in these girls' preparation for Big Tens. They really have improved in the last two weeks."

    The Orange and Blue will begin the 6K Big Ten Championship Race at 10:45 a.m. on Sunday morning at the Les Bolstad Golf Course. Complete Illini results can be found at following the event.

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