Women's Cross Country, Track & Field
Orange and Blue to Race at Notre Dame Invite

Senior Courtney Yaeger, reigning Co-Big Ten Athlete of the Week will be one of 12 to run at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday.
Senior Courtney Yaeger, reigning Co-Big Ten Athlete of the Week will be one of 12 to run at the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday.

Sept. 26, 2012

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Notre Dame Invitational
Fiday, Sept. 28 (3:15 p.m.) - 5K race
Notre Dame Cross Country Course // South Bend, Ind.

The Illini women's cross country team will head to South Bend, Ind., for the Notre Dame Invitational on Friday, Sept. 28, with the women's 5K race scheduled to start at 3:15 p.m. CT. The meet will take place at the Notre Dame Cross Country Course. This will be the first time the Illini have run at the meet since 2008, when they finished ninth.

"There are a lot of nationally ranked teams competing this weekend," Rasmussen said. "Our goal is to be in the top 10 as a team. If we do that, we will definitely be moving in the right direction. We're going to run to our capability. We're there to beat teams from other regionals to score points in order to go to the national meet."

The Illini squad will have 12 athletes competing this weekend. Junior Stephanie Morgan will be running in her first meet since 2010 after redshirting last year. Morgan earned All-Region honors in 2010 after leading the Illini at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet. Senior Courtney Yaeger is coming off a personal best in the 5K which helped her earn the Big Ten Co-Athlete of the Week award. Freshman Amanda Fox will be running in her second collegiate meet after finishing second for the Illini in her debut. Three of the Illini, Meagan Hynes, Rachel Irion and Samantha Murphy will compete in the open race.

The field will be the toughest the Illini have faced this season. Eighteen teams will participate, including five of the top 30 nationally ranked squads. No. 2 Florida State leads the competition and is looking to defend their title after winning the 2011 competition by 62 points. The Illini will also run against two other Big Ten teams at the meet, Northwestern and Ohio State.

Illinois took the team crown at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, winning the title for the first time since the 2008 season. Senior Courtney Yaeger opened up her season and led the Illini, finishing second overall and was one of 12 to set a personal-best 5K time of 17:14. With four Illini finishers in the top 10, Illinois tallied 33 points. Finishing in second and running in her collegiate debut was freshman Amanda Fox who finished fifth overall with a time of 17:42 and was followed closely behind by junior Katie Porada (17:44) and Alyssa Schneider (17:45) who finished seventh and eighth, respectively.

The Orange and Blue will have a weekend off but will return to action in two weeks as the squad is split between two races. The majority of the squad will compete in the Pre-Nationals meet in Louisville Ky., on Saturday, Oct. 13 while others will compete at the Bradley Classic in Peoria, Ill., the day prior.