Illini Head To Penn State For Big Ten Championships
Oct. 28, 1999
The University of Illinois men?s and women?s cross country teams leave for State College, Pennsylvania to compete in the 1999 Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Saturday, October 30. The women?s 5,000-meter race will take place at 9:45 am (time listed is central).
No current member of the team has raced on Penn State?s difficult, hilly terrain. However, coach Michelle Byrne has experience on the PSU Blue and White Courses. Byrne competed there in 1984 while running for the University of Arkansas.
The team heads into the meet with an aim of moving into the upper echelon of the Big Ten. Last season, the Illini finished eighth in a race that saw Wisconsin win its fourth conference title in a row. There are three teams ranked among the Top 25 in the country in the women?s race, #5 Wisconsin, #17 Minnesota, and #18 Michigan State.
Illinois has been plagued by injuries throughout the season, but has recently received some good news. Junior Lindsay Martin, who has missed the entire season to date because of a leg stress fracture, has fully recovered and will race this weekend. Illinois? number two runner throughout the 1998 season, her return will immediately bolster the Illini lineup.
?I have nothing but admiration and respect for the way Lindsay has handled the injury and her rehab,? coach Byrne says. ?She?s eager to race because she feels that she can come in right away and contribute. This is an opportunity to get a race under her belt (before regionals) as well as add intensity to our group.?
Senior Tara Mendozza will spearhead the harriers at PSU and also make a push for All-Big Ten honors. The freshmen trio of Cecelia Williams, Amber Hunt, and Lyndsey Dunnavan will also push for high level finishes in their first conference meet.
Following the Big Ten meet, the team will have two weeks to prepare for the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, hosted by the University of Illinois. The meet will be on Saturday, November 13 at the UI Blue Golf Course in Savoy.