Illinois Wins Illini Challenge
Aug 30, 2013
Urbana, Ill. -- The Illinois women's cross country team opened the season with a win at the Illini Challenge on Friday. Running at their home course, the squad captured the team title and scored 15 points, followed by the Illinois XC Club in second (50).
"As a first meet, there is a mix of excitement and a tiny bit of apprehension going into it," said head coach Scott Jones. "I was excited, as it was my first meet as the head coach. For the returnees, it was the start of the season with a new coach. That was all mixed with the fact that it was so extraordinarily hot. I'm very proud of the way we handled the circumstances, and it was a very positive first meet."
The top five finishers were wearing Orange and Blue, led by redshirt sophomore Alyssa Schneider. Schneider finished first overall with a time of 14:24, while senior Katie Porada ran unattached and finished close behind, setting a new personal best 4K time of 14:36. Sophomore Amanda Fox crossed the finish line with a time of 14:55, while junior Chloe Schmidt (15:00) and sophomore Natalie Wynn (15:05) set personal bests to finish fourth and fifth, respectively.
Freshman Audrey Blazek made her collegiate debut, placing seventh overall with a 4K time of 15:34, and sophomore Michelle Frigo (15:44) finished eighth. Freshmen Valerie Bobart (15:48) and Kim Seger 15:51) finished 10th and 11th, respectively, while sophomore Lindsey Rakosnik (15:57) and freshmen Hanna Winter (15:58) and Megan Lemersal (15:59) came in next just seconds apart. Senior Rachel Irion set a personal best time of 16:14, finishing 15th overall, and freshman Ellie Palacios finished in 16:22 to place 16th.
"The coaching staff will sit down and evaluate the performances, and determine what we need to do to get better," said Jones. "We have two weeks until our next competition, and we will continue to do what we've done in training, and also maybe tweak things based on how we ran today. Everything is focused on our progression towards the championship portion of the season in November."
The Illini have next weekend off before traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., the site of the 2013 Big Ten Championships, for the Boilermaker Invitational on Sept. 13.