Women's Cross Country, Track & Field
No. 16 Illinois Ready to Run at NCAA Championships

 
Junior Chantelle Groenewoud and the No. 16 Illini will compete at the NCAA Championships on Monday.
Junior Chantelle Groenewoud and the No. 16 Illini will compete at the NCAA Championships on Monday.
 

Nov. 19, 2009

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2009 NCAA Cross Country Championships
Monday, Nov. 23 // 11:58 a.m. CT // LaVern Gibson Championship Course // Terre Haute, Ind.

Preview
The No. 16 Illinois women's cross country team looks to extend its streak of excellence at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday, Nov. 23. The race will take place at the LaVern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Family Sports Complex in Terre Haute, Ind. The Illini have placed in the top 10 at the championships for the past four years, finishing 10th in 2008, 6th in 2007, 8th in 2006, and 5th in 2005. Senior standout Angela Bizzarri hopes to continue her own streak as well, after earning All-America honors the past three consecutive years for her top-40 performances at the championships (6th-2008, 14th-2007, 24th-2006). The championship race will be broadcast live on Versus Network and streamed online via NCAA.com.

"We are looking forward to Nationals. The course is always in pretty good condition and hopefully it will stay that way for the race. If that's the case, then it will run fast. Everyone on our team has seen this course and run on this course numerous times, so that's always a good thing. If we can execute our plan and really focus in on the specifics that we have been working on, then we should do well.

"As for Angela (Bizzarri), it's going to be a lot of fun for her. One of her goals at the beginning of the year was to try to be better than she was last year. If she could be in the top five that would be absolutely awesome. There is going to be an opportunity for her at Nationals to really go out there and show everyone what she has got."
-women's cross country coach Jeremy Rasmussen

NCAA Cross Country Championships Schedule
Monday, Nov. 23
Men's 10K race - 11:08 a.m. CT
Women's 6K race - 11:58 a.m. CT

Tournament Field
There will be 31 teams competing at the NCAA Cross Country Championships. The top-two teams at each regional meet received automatic bids to the championships and 13 additional teams were chosen by the NCAA selection committee on Nov. 15. Last year's champion, Washington, looks to defend its title and comes into the race ranked No. 1 in the USTFCCCA poll. Aside from Illinois, there are six other Big Ten teams in the field: No. 13 Minnesota, No. 27 Ohio State, No. 29 Michigan, No. 30 Indiana, Michigan State, and Penn State.

At the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships
The Orange and Blue placed second at the Missouri State Cross Country Course on Saturday, Nov. 14, as four runners - Bizzarri (1st), Sutherland (4th), Boyle (12th) and Groenewoud (23rd) - finished in the top 25 to garner All-Region honors. Bizzarri won the 6K race with a time of 20:07.5 and earned All-Region honors for the fourth consecutive year. The Illini had a team total of 86 points and were 26 points behind champion Minnesota. The runner-up finish for the Orange and Blue marks the third time in three years that the Illini have taken home second place at this meet, as well as the third time in as many years that the Illini have been defeated by Big Ten rival Minnesota. By finishing among the top-two teams at the meet, the Illini earned an automatic bid to the NCAA Championships.

At the Big Ten Championships
The Illini came in second place at the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Nov. 1 at the Penn State Blue-White Course. Illinois had an impressive four runners earn All-Big Ten honors, and were led by Bizzarri, who finished in second place individually with a 6K time of 20:10. The Orange and Blue had a team total of 77 points and were a mere six points away from Big Ten champion Penn State, who had 71 points. The runner-up finish for the Illini was its best since 2005, where the Illini also finished second behind Michigan, and the fourth in school history.

At Pre-Nationals
The Orange and Blue took fifth in a loaded field of 37 teams on Oct. 17 at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course for the Pre-National Invitational. The Illini had a team score of 206 to place in the top five, and faced nine ranked teams in the White Race. Bizzarri finished the 6K race in 20:27.8 to top the other 246 competitors and take home the individual title. Following Bizzarri was sophomore Kristin Sutherland who came in seventh place with a personal-best 6K time of 20:50. Senior Elizabeth Boyle (20) came in third for the Illini and had a personal-best 6K time of 21:10. Other scorers for Illinois were juniors Chantelle Groenewoud (21:36, 46), and Jamie Brusa (132) with a time of 22:28.

The Running Illini
Four seniors, three juniors and two sophomores make up the NCAA Championships roster:

Stephanie Baliga // Senior // Rockford, Ill.
Opened up the season at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite at University Park, Pa., and clocked a 6K time of 23:28 ... Finished seventh for the Illini at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional with a 5K time of 18:57 ... Competed at the Pre-National Invitational in the Open Division and ran the 6K race in 23:45.6 ... Finished in 225th place at last year's NCAA Championships, 121st in 2007, and 52nd in 2006.

6K Personal Best: 20:56

Angela Bizzarri // Senior // Mason, Ohio
Opened the season at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite with a 6K time of 22:16 ... Placed first for the Illini and second overall at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional with a 5K time of 17:22 ... Beat out 246 other runners and won the Pre-National Invitational with a 6K time of 20:27.8 ... Named Big Ten Runner of the Week on Oct. 20 after Pre-Nats ... Earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for the fourth year in a row, the first Illini to do so in school history, for her second place at the Big Ten Championships where she clocked a 6K time of 20:10 ... Won the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship individual title with a 6K time of 20:07.5 ... Earned All-Region honors for the fourth consecutive season ... Was named Midwest Region Athlete of the Year after her win at regionals and for her strong performances throughout the season ... Finished in sixth place at last year's NCAA Championships, 14th in 2007, and 24th in 2006, capturing All-America honors each year.

6K Personal Best: 19:59

Elizabeth Boyle // Senior // Elmhurst, Ill.
Placed first for the Illini and seventh overall at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite with a 6K time of 22:00 ... Had a 5K personal-best at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional with a time of 17:32 ... Placed 20th out of the loaded field at the Pre-National Invitational with a 6K time of 21:10.2 ... Finished in 11th place at the Big Ten Championships completing the 6K race in a personal-best time of 21:00 and garnered All-Big Ten Honors for her performance ... Placed third for the Illini and 12th overall at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships with a 6K time of 21:12.5 ... Earned her second All-Region honors for her top-25 showing at Regionals ... Finished 145th at last year's NCAA Championships.

6K Personal Best: 21:00

Theresa Brokaw // Senior // Stronghurst, Ill.
Made her season debut at the Pre-National Invitational and clocked a time of 24:09.1 for the 6K race ... Placed fifth at the Illini Open with a 5K time of 18:59 ... Competed at the Big Ten Championships, running the 6K race in a time of 22:37 ... Finished 192nd at last year's NCAA Championships and 153rd in 2007.

6K Personal Best: 21:18

Jamie Brusa // Junior // Arlington Heights, Ill.
Opened the season at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships and placed first for the Illini and 11th overall with a 5K time of 18:22 ... Finished the Wisconsin Inter-Regional with a 5K time of 18:26 ... Came in fifth for the Illini at the Pre-National Invitational with a 6K time of 22:28.0 ... Had a time of 22:18 at the Big Ten Championships and finished in 56th place ... Finished 51st overall and fifth for the Illini with a personal-best 6K time of 22:07.4 at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships.

6K Personal Best: 22:07

Chantelle Groenewoud // Junior // N. Vancouver, B.C.
Placed second for the Orange and Blue and eighth overall at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite with a 6K time of 22:05 ... Finished the Wisconsin Inter-Regional in fourth place for the Illini with a 5K time of 17:43 ... Came in fourth for the Illini and 46th overall at the Pre-National Invitational, running the 6K race in a time of 21:36 ... Garnered All-Big Ten honors at the Big Ten Championships by finishing in 13th-place with a personal-best 6K time of 21:02 ... Came in fourth for the Orange and Blue and 23rd overall at the NCAA Midwest Championships with a 6K time of 21:34.2 ... Earned All-Region honors for the second year in a row for her top-25 finish at Regionals ... Finished 124th at last year's NCAA Championships and 36th in 2007.

6K Personal Best: 21:02

Kristin Sutherland // Sophomore // Orland Park, Ill.
Debuted at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional and had a personal-best 5K time of 17:22 to place second for the Illini and sixth overall at the meet ... Finished second for the Illini and an impressive seventh overall at the Pre-National Invitational, running the 6K race in a time of 20:50 ... Took seventh at the Big Ten Championships to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors with a 6K time of 20:41 ... Placed fourth at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships, running the 6K race in a time of 20:44.1 to earn All-Region honors for the second consecutive year ... Placed 109th at last year's NCAA Championships.

6K Personal Best: 20:41

Ashley Thompson // Junior // Mt. Vernon, Ill.
Paced the Orange and Blue at the season-opening Illini Challenge, placing third with a personal-best 4K time of 14:39.57 ... Finished in fifth for Illinois at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite ... Came in second for the Illini at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships with a 5K time of 18:32 ... Ran a personal-best 5K time of 18:12 at the Wisconsin Inter-Regional ... Came in sixth for the Illini at the Pre-National Invitational with a 6K time of 22:36.4 ... Had a personal-best 6K time of 21:58 at the Big Ten Championships and finished fifth for the Orange and Blue ... Finished in sixth for Illinois at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships with a 6K time of 22:38.

6K Personal Best: 21:58

Danelle Woods // Sophomore // Ottawa, Ontario
Began the season at the Harry Groves Spiked Shoe Invite in fourth place for the Illini with a 6K time of 22:16 ... Captured the individual title at the Illini Open with a 5K time of 18:49 ... Finished in 54th place at the Big Ten Championships running the 6K race in a time of 22:16 ... Finished 71st overall and seventh for the Orange and Blue at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships with a 6K time of 22:39.4 ... Placed 99th at the 2007 NCAA Championships ... Redshirted the 2008 season.

6K Personal Best: 20:54

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