Sophomore Danelle Woods, the 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, returns to the No. 10 Illini this season after redshirting last year.
Sept. 15, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women's cross country team is ranked 10th nationally in the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) preseason coaches' poll with a majority of its top runners returning from the 2008 squad that finished 10th in the country.
The Illini are also ranked second in the Midwest region as named by the USTFCCCA, after finishing runner-up at the regional championships last year.
The Big Ten is again picked to be one of the top distance conferences in the nation, with two teams ranked in the top 10 and five in the top 20. Minnesota is picked eighth, followed by Illinois (10th), Wisconsin (15th), Michigan State (17th) and Michigan (19th). The Gophers were ranked first in the Midwest region, while Washington is the preseason favorite to win the national title followed by Oregon (2nd) and Florida State (3rd).
Illinois returns all but one athlete from its 2008 travel squad, and is expected to be led this season by senior All-American Angela Bizzarri and All-Region performers Elizabeth Boyle, Chantelle Groenewoud and Kristin Sutherland. Sophomore Danelle Woods, the 2007 Big Ten Freshman of the Year, also returns this season after redshirting last year.
This Friday, the Illini head to Normal, Ill., for the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships at 4:30 p.m. CT at the Illinois State course.