The Illini women's cross country team will split up this weekend. Both races start Friday, Oct. 14 with the main squad racing at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis. The 6K race will begin at 1 p.m. CT and take place at the Thomas Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. Illinois tied for 13th at last year's meet.
Cross country coach Jeremy Rasmussen will send three runners to Peoria, Ill., for the 6K race, set to begin at 4:20 p.m. Illinois has competed in the Classic each of the last three years.
COACH RASMUSSEN ON THE MEET
"I'm excited to get them back on the course after some good training this past week," Rasmussen said. "These two races are big for us and we're going to mix it up and see where we are at with one month left in the season. The important thing for these younger girls is to see all these ranked teams and what it's like to be at that level. My main goal is to have everyone try and achieve a new personal-record and to stay close and run together."
ILLINI SET TO RUN
Rasmussen sends three runners to Peoria, Ill., to compete in the Bradley Classic. Megumi Hoshi is coming off a personal-best 5K performance two weeks ago while Meghan Murphy and Michelle Stratton will also run, after competing in their first meet two weeks ago in Chicago, Ill.
A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
The Wisconsin adidas Invitational field will be the toughest the Illini have faced this season. Fourty-two teams will participate, including 18 of the top 30 nationally ranked squads. No. 1 Villanova leads the competition, with the Wildcats finishing second out of 45 teams in their first meet of the season.
The Bradley Classic field includes mostly smaller schools, including five teams ranked in the latest USTFCCA regional rankings such as Lamar, Creighton, Drake, Illinois State, Northern Iowa, Eastern MIchigan, Missouri and Saint Louis.
LAST TIME OUT
Two weeks ago, Illinois finished in fourth place at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, totaling 116 points. Finishing first for the Illini and 18th overall was Meghan Frigo, who in her third race this season ran a personal-best 5K time of 17:59. Courtney Yaeger also made her season debut, placing second for the Illini in a time of 18:06. Following Yaeger was Madeline Aufmann (23), freshman Britten Petrey (30) and sophomore Katie Porada (34). Both Aufmann and Porada set personal-best 5K times at the meet.
The Illini will compete at home when they welcome cross country teams to the Illini Open on Friday, Oct. 21 at the UI Arboretum at 4:00 p.m. CT.