Aug 29, 2013
Illini Challenge Preview | Coach Jones Interview
Friday, Aug. 30 (6:30 p.m.) - 4K race
UI Arboretum // Urbana, Ill.
The Fighting Illini women's cross country team opens up the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30, at the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana for the Illini Challenge. The women's race is set to start at 6:30 p.m, with the men's race to follow at 7:00 p.m.
Coach Jones on the Meet
"We will use Friday's meet in multiple ways," said Jones. "We will use it as a dress rehearsal, so we learn to do everything surrounding a meet, such as warming up and preparing. Getting a race under our belts, especially for the freshman who will be nervous, will be very important. It will be an opportunity for me to see the athletes in a competitive situation, which is something that I haven't done yet."
"There are no other Division I schools there," said Jones. "But that doesn't in any way detract from what we need to do. It doesn't matter who's there and who is not there, we're going there to accomplish certain goals and we're going to be focused on that. We're going to be prepared to do what we need to do."
Illini Set to Run
15 Illini are slated to run on Friday, including collegiate debuts for six runners. NCAA qualifier Alyssa Schneider will run for the Orange and Blue, along with Amanda Fox, Michelle Frigo, Rachel Irion, Stephanie Morgan, Katie Porada, Lindsey Rakosnik, Chloe Schmidt, and Natalie Wynn. Freshmen Audrey Blazek, Valerie Bobart, Megan Lemersal, Ellie Palacios, Kim Seger, and Hanna Winter will race in an Illinois uniform for the first time in their careers.
A Look at the Competition
The Orange and Blue compete against a smaller field than last year, with Hannibal-LaGrange, the CU Racing Team, and the Illinois XC Club traveling to the UI Arboretum.
Last Year at the Challenge
Illinois took home a fifth-place finish at the Illini Challenge in 2012, as Meagan Hynes led the pack for the Illini, finishing 15th overall with a personal-best 4K time of 15:31. Michelle Frigo finished second for the squad, placing 22nd overall with a time of 15:43. Michelle Stratton crossed the line in 16:12, with Natalie Wynn (16:14) finishing close behind. Rachel Irion set a new personal best 4k time of 16:21.
The Orange and Blue will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., the site of the 2013 Big Ten Championships, for the Boilermaker Invitational on September 13th.