Women's Cross Country, Track & Field
Illini Set to Compete at Pre-Nationals and Bradley Classic

Katie Porada will be one of seven Illini to compete at the Pre-National meet on Saturday while four others will race at the Bradley Classic.
Katie Porada will be one of seven Illini to compete at the Pre-National meet on Saturday while four others will race at the Bradley Classic.

Oct. 10, 2012

Bradley and Pre-National Meet PreviewGet Acrobat Reader

Bradley Classic
Friday, Oct. 12 (4 p.m. CT) - 6K race
Newman Golf Course // Peoria, Ill.

Pre-Nationals (Red Race)
Saturday, Oct. 13 (9:15 a.m. CT) - 6K race
E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park // Louisville, Ky.

The Fighting Illini women's cross country team will split up this weekend. The action starts Friday, Oct. 12 with the Bradley Classic. Cross country coach Jeremy Rasmussen will send seven runners to Peoria, Ill., for the 6K race, set to begin at 4 p.m. Illinois has competed in the Classic the past three years.

On Saturday, the main Illini squad will race at the Pre-National meet in Louisville, Ky. The first women's race is set to begin at 9:15 a.m. CT. This year, 39 total teams are set to compete in the seeded race, which will be at the E.P. Tom Sawyer State Park, the same course as the national meet held in November. Fourty-five teams will compete in the unseeded race which begins at 10:30 a.m. CT.

"Our goal this weekend at Pre-Nationals and Bradley is to be a top-10 team," Rasmussen said. "At Pre-Nationals, there are a lot of ranked teams and teams which are recieving votes. We want to be able to beat some of those teams. We've been working on trying to finish race well. If we push ourselves the last few kilometers, I think we'll be successful."

Rasmussen sends seven runners to Peoria, Ill., to compete in the Bradley Classic on Friday. Samantha Murphy is coming off winning the open race at the Notre Dame Invitational two weeks ago. Rachel Irion has posted personal bests this season, and is one of five Illini to run their first 6K race. Stephanie Brown and Collette Falsey will also open their season at the meet on Friday.

Illinois' top runners head to Louisville, Ky., for the Pre-National meet on Saturday morning. Courtney Yaeger looks to lead the Illini for the third consecutive meet after setting a 5K personal best two weeks ago. Junior's Katie Porada and Madeline Aufmann have also scored points for the Illini in the past two meets and are coming off setting personal-bests two weeks ago. Meghan Frigo will also compete along with Stephanie Morgan, who is the only Illini who has competed at the Pre-National meet back in 2010. A pair of underclassmen, Amanda Fox and Alyssa Schneider are also set to compete. Three Illini (Meagan Hynes, Lindsey Rakosnik and Chloe Schmidt) will run in the unseeded race.

The Pre-National Invitational will be the stiffest competition of the year for the Illini. Of the top 30 teams, eight are competing in the event, and four of the top 10 teams in the nation will compete. No. 1 Florida State leads the competition, with No. 4 Oregon right behind. No. 6 Georgetown and No. 8 Michigan will also be among the teams at the invitational.

Two weeks ago, the women's cross country team finished fifth at the Notre Dame Invitational. Finishing first for the Illini for the second consecutive week was senior Courtney Yaeger. She finished sixth overall and ran a new personal best 5K time of 16:48, beating her old record set last week. Following Yaeger was redshirt freshman Alyssa Schneider who finished 36th overall and was one of six Illini to set a new personal-best time. Finishing third and 38th overall was junior Katie Porada while freshman Amanda Fox continued to improve her time at the 5K distance, scoring points for the Illini.

The Orange and Blue will be home next weekend as they welcome cross country teams to the Illini Open on Friday, Oct. 19 at the UI Arboretum at 4 p.m. CT before traveling to East Lansing, Mich. for the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Oct. 28.