Illinois will host the Big Ten Championships at the UI Arboretum on Sunday, Oct. 30. The 6K race will begin at 11:45 a.m., immediately following the men's 8K race. The Orange and Blue have had multiple opportunities to preview the course earlier as they've competed on the championship course two times this season. The meet will be aired tape delayed by the Big Ten Network on Friday, Nov. 11 at 11 a.m. CT. Jay Wilson, Craig Virgin and Kathy Morris will serve as the announcers for the broadcast.
COACH RASMUSSEN ON THE MEET
"We're excited for Big Ten's, especially on the home course with this young group. We're going to give ourselves the opportunity for some great success and be able to compete harder than we have all season. We're running seven because in looking at where all the girls line up within the conference, we want to put a team out there that's competetive within the field. We need to get out of the race well and really get engaged in the first half of the race and hold out strong throughout the rest of the race. We will definitely use the crowd to our advantage during the last few miles."
Each of the 12 schools in the Big Ten will compete in the championship, making it one of the most competitive conference meets in the country. Four Big Ten squads are in the most recent USTFCCCA top-30 national rankings, led by No. 15 Michigan State. Michigan comes in at No. 19, followed by No. 26 Penn State. No. 27 Iowa rounds out the conference schools in the top 30 while Minnesota and Wisconsin are each receiving votes. Ten Big Ten teams are in the top seven of their respective regions, including Michigan State ranked No. 1 in the Great Lakes Region and Iowa No. 2 in the Midwest Region. Michigan and Minnesota along with Penn State and Wisconsin are ranked No. 3 and 4 in their respective regions.
THE RUNNING ILLINI
The Big Ten Championship squad consists of seven Illini, three of which competed in the conference meet last season in senior Stacy Hague, junior Courtney Yaeger and sophomore Meghan Frigo. Last year at Big Tens, the Illini finished in ninth place with 203 points with then senior Chantelle Groenewoud leading the Orange and Blue and finishing 24th overall with a time of 20:58. Hague finished second on the team and 31st overall, beating her 6K personal best by more than 20 seconds while Frigo (22:50) was one of two freshmen to compete, finishing ninth for the Illini.
2011 Big Ten Championships Roster
Madeline Aufmann // Junior // Cary, Ill.
Led the Illini for first time in career and helped the Orange and Blue win the Bradley Open with a three-mile time of 17:13 ... Took second for the Illini and 10th overall at the Orange and Blue Preview recording a personal-best 6K time of 21:48 ... Scored points for Illinois, finishing third at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, with a 5K personal best time of 18:12 ... Was a member of the racing lineup for the Illini at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
Colette Falsey // Freshman // Schaumburg, Ill.
Made Illini debut at the Illini Challenge by pacing the Orange and Blue, with a 4K time of 15:25 ... Scored points for the Illini, finishing fourth at the Bradley Open and recorded a three-mile time of 17:23 ... Came in fifth for the Illini and 15th overall at the Orange and Blue Preview with a 6K time of 22:13 ... Competed at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational with a 5K time of 18:59 ... Came in sixth for the Illini at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational with a 6K time of 23:08.
Meghan Frigo // Sophomore // Elmhurst, Ill.
Made season debut at the Bradley Open, placing third overall and for the Illini with a three-mile time of 17:22 ... Led the Illini and placed seventh overall at the Orange and Blue Preview, setting a personal best 6K time of 21:27, cutting 1:19 seconds off her previous mark ... Set a personal best while leading the Ilini at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, timing 17:59 and placing 18th overall ... Led Illinois for the third consecutive week at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, with a 6K time of 21:50.
Stacy Hague // Senior // Chicago, Ill.
Made season debut at the Bradley Open, placing 14th overall and eighth for the Illini with a three-mile time of 18:10 ... Placed 22nd overall at the Orange and Blue Preview with a 6K mark of 23:02 ... Finished in the top 50 overall at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, placing 44th and sixth for the Illini with a 5K time of 18:37 ... Came in fourth for the Illini and 273rd overall at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
Britten Petrey // Freshman // Schaumburg, Ill.
Started Illini career finishing third for the Illini and 14th overall at the Illini Challenge, recording a 4K time of 15:31 ... Came in sixth for the Illini and 10th overall at the Bradley Open, with a three-mile time of 17:53 ... Scored points for Illinois at Orange and Blue Preview, placing third with a 6K time of 21:56 ... Placed fourth on the team at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational ... Finished fifth for Illinois at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational.
Katie Porada // Sophomore // Clarendon Hills, Ill.
Began season by helping the Orange and Blue win the Bradley Open, placing second overall with a three-mile time of 17:17 ... Took a minute and 25 seconds off her 6K time (22:09) at the Orange and Blue Preview, finishing fourth for the team and 14th overall ... Set a personal best for second consecutive week, running a 5K time of 18:30 at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, placing fifth on the team to earn points for the Illini ... Competed at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, finishing third for the Illini.
Courtney Yaeger // Junior // Wheeling, W.V.
Made season debut at the Sean Earl Lakefront Invitational, finishing second for the Illini with a 5K time of 18:06 ... Placed second for Illinois at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, with a 6K time of 21:54, just 10 seconds behind her personal best.
LAST TIME OUT
Junior Meagan Hynes and sophomore Meghan Murphy led Illinois at the fourth annual Illini Open last Friday. Four of the five runners placed in the top 20, with two inside the top 11. Illinois came in third place with 65 points. Hynes finished just in front of Murphy to lead the Illini for the first time in her career with a 5K time of 19:15. Murphy came in second, finishing just behind her teammate.
Sophomore Michelle Stratton came in third for the Orange and Blue, crossing the finish line with a time of 19:36, only 13 seconds off her personal best 5K record while Megumi Hoshi finished fourth for the team, finishing in a time of 20:04. Freshman Chloe Schmidt came in fifth for the Illini in a time of 20:45.
The Illini will take a week off before competing in the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Saturday, Nov. 12 in DeKalb, Ill.