Sophomore Kristin Sutherland will make her season debut at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional on Saturday.
Oct. 1, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The No. 10-ranked Illini women's cross country team travels to Madison, Wis., this Saturday for the inaugural Wisconsin Inter-Regional. The women's 5K race will start at 11:45 a.m. CT, following the men's race at 11 a.m. CT. The race will take place at the brand new Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course at University Ridge.
Most of the Illini's top runners will be racing at the meet. The Wisconsin Inter-Regional will mark the season debut of sophomore Kristin Sutherland, who finished in the top 20 at Pre-Nationals and third for Illinois at the NCAA Championships last year. Coach Rasmussen expects Sutherland and many of the upperclassmen to rise up and lead the Illini on Saturday.
"Elizabeth Boyle has looked really, really good in practice," Rasmussen said. "She has been getting a lot better and she should be able to race really well. Kristin Sutherland is ready to go and race really well. Chantelle Groenewood is another person, and obviously Angela (Bizzarri). I think those four will be the leaders of the pack this Saturday."
The loaded 14-team field contains opponents from all over the country, including three Big Ten rivals and seven nationally ranked teams. The participating schools are No. 11 Georgetown, No. 17 Michigan, No. 21 Syracuse, No. 23 Brigham Young, No. 26 Wisconsin, No. 28 Arkansas, No. 29 Duke, Auburn, Iowa, Lamar, Marquette, Nebraska, Texas A&M, and UW-La Crosse.
"Since we aren't at full strength, we might have to grind out a little more at this meet," cross country coach Jeremy Rasmussen said. "The people that are racing are going to have to grind a little harder and really do the best of their ability. Everyone should be able to go in and run close to a personal record. If we can do that, then we are moving in the right direction."
Next up for the Orange and Blue is a weekend off before splitting up and heading to the Bradley Classic on Friday, Oct.16 at 4:15 p.m. CT, and the Pre-Nationals Invitational in Terre Haute, Ind., on Saturday, Oct. 17 at 11:00 a.m. CT.