Cross Country Ends Season at NCAA Midwest Regional Meet
Nov. 12, 2011
DEKALB, Ill. - Without their No. 1 finisher and runner-up at the 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship, the Illinois State women's cross country team finished in 11th place at the 2011 NCAA Division I Midwest Regional Cross Country Championships, Saturday, at the North 40 Cross Country Course in Dekalb, Ill.
The Redbirds came together and managed to finish within one place of their No. 10 regional ranking. Senior Aisha Praught and junior Elise Sigg set the pace for the women, crossing the line in 13th and 23rd place, respectively. These are the two highest finishes for an Illinois State women's cross country runner since the 2001 season in which Stacia Beste qualified for the NCAA Division I Cross Country Championships.
On a day that proved to be perfect for a cross country meet with temperatures in the 50s and the sun shining, Praught ran the 6K championship race in 21:30.89 to be the first Redbird across the finish line. Sigg ran a 21:44.47 to finish 23rd. Since both finished in the top-25, they each earned all-region honors, another first for a women's runner since the 2001 season.
"I am really proud with the performance the women's team put forth," said Bovee. "The women stepped up and filled some holes in that of Krista DeCeault who did not compete today. Rachael, Kristen and Brea ran solid and Ashley Kamin had her best race of the year. We were ranked 10th heading into the race, and to finish 11th without our top runner, that's all you can ask for. In regards to Aisha and Elise earning all-region honors, that's saying something as the Midwest Region runs very deep with a lot of great competition. These are the first two since I have been here and the first since 2001, so that shows how well our program has evolved and where it is headed."
Adding to the team's score and finishing as part of the Illinois State's top-five was Kristen Zillmer (22:29.67), Rachael Brewer (23:06.93) and Brea Tinney (23:23.38).
Freshman Ryan Rutherford and senior John Navarro were the only two Redbird men to compete in the 10K championship event. Rutherford finished in 49th place with a time of 32:37.35 and was the seventh freshman to cross the line in a field of 171 runners. Navarro finished up his cross country career at Illinois State, stepping across the line at the 33:57.72 mark.
The team awaits the final selections from the NCAA to see if Praught will advance as part of an at-large bid for individual runners not attached to teams competing at the national meet. The selections will be known Saturday night at 8 p.m.
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