Madeline Aufmann is coming off a personal-best 6K time at the Bradley Classic, where she finished third for the Illini.
Oct. 21, 2010
The Illini host their second and final meet of the season on Friday, Oct. 22, at the University of Illinois Arboretum, at 4 p.m. It is the third annual Illini Open, and Illinois has won the first two. The 5K race will serve as a final opportunity for the Illini runners to compete for a spot on Illinois' Big Ten Championships roster, which will be announced next week.
It will be the largest Illini Open field in its short, three-year history, boasting 86 total competitors. Illinois will run 12 underclassmen in the 5K event, including six freshmen.
COACH RASMUSSEN ON THE MEET
"The idea behind the Illini Open was to give us a chance to sort out our final Big Ten roster. We have a wonderful course here at the Arboretum, so we thought we'd use that. It started with basically us and Illinois State, and it's grown into a pretty good meet now in just three years. Everyone's seen the opportunity to race some of the group that might be fighting for a spot on their conference roster because everyone runs conference meets next weekend. It's been a great opportunity for us. It's helped us tremendously in years past, and I expect it to do the same this year."
ILLINI SET TO RUN
The Illini will run 12 individuals in the Illini Open, 11 of which are underclassmen. Redshirt freshman Stephanie Brown will make her season debut, becoming the 21st runner to appear for Illinois this season. Five other freshmen, Meghan Frigo, Megumi Hoshi, Rachel Irion, Katie Porada and Melissa Schmidt, will also run. Sophomores Madeline Aufmann, Meagan Hynes, Kelsey Seiler, Michelle Stratton and Mary Sullivan complete the underclassmen field. Sophomore Meghan Murphy will run unattached for the second time this season, maintaining her eligibility to redshirt this season. The lone upperclassman running is senior Maggie Mulchrone, who is coming off a personal-best time at the Bradley Classic.
A LOOK AT THE COMPETITION
Illinois will host the largest field in the three years of the Illini Open, as 86 runners from eight teams will compete. Bradley and Illinois State, both of which hosted Illinois earlier in the season, will come to Urbana to run. Northwestern and Indianapolis will bring the most competitors, running 18 and 20 individuals, respectively. Northwestern finished just one spot below Illinois last week at Pre-Nationals, but it finished two spots ahead of Illinois when the Wildcats won the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships. Indianapolis, a Division II school, topped 12 other non-D-I schools at the Indiana Intercollegiates Cross Country Championships in September.
Bradley finished two spots behind Illinois to finish seventh when the Braves hosted the Bradley Classic and three spots behind Illinois at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, hosted by Illinois State. The Redbirds finished second at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships, one spot ahead of the Illini. Illinois Wesleyan, Lewis and Northern Kentucky also will compete in the event.
LAST TIME OUT
The Illini ran in a pair of races this past weekend. Part of the team traveled to Peoria, Ill., for the Bradley Classic on Friday, Oct. 15. That group finished fifth of 20 teams, and all seven runners posted personal bests. Courtney Yaeger led the group and placed 11th overall, shaving over a minute off her previous personal-best 6K time for a mark of 21:45. Yaeger was one of three Illini who shaved at least 40 seconds off previous 6K personal bests.
The top Illini runners traveled to Terre Haute, Ind., for the Pre-National Invitational. The team finished 24th of 40, led by senior Chantelle Groenewoud, who led the Illini for the second time in as many races. Stacy Hague continued her strong season by finishing second for the team, followed by Stephanie Morgan and Amber Stack. Stack set a personal best and finished just ahead of Kristin Sutherland, who rounded out the scoring for the team.
The Illini head to Madison, Wis., for the Big Ten Championships on Oct. 31, 2010. The meet is set to begin at 10:45 a.m.