Redbirds Open 2011 Season at Hawkeye Invitational
Sept. 1, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. ¬¬¬- The Illinois State men's and women's cross country teams open their 2011 campaign at the Hawkeye Invitational Friday in Iowa City, Iowa, at the Ashton Cross Country Course. The women's 4K event will begin at 6 p.m., followed by the men's 6K race at 6:30 p.m.
The Redbirds will compete against Iowa in their season opener. The Hawkeyes are ranked both nationally and regionally, according to the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA). The women's team is ranked 28th nationally and third in the Midwest Region. On the men's side, Iowa ranks only in the regional poll and sits seventh in the Midwest Region.
For Illinois State, the women's team holds the No. 11 spot in the Midwest Region poll.
Head cross country coach Jeff Bovee is using this first meet to assess the fitness levels of his team, as well as, give his younger runners some much needed experience at the college level.
"For both the men and women, tomorrow's race will be about giving a lot of newcomers that much needed experience racing in college," Bovee said. "This will be a good time to assess where we are at with our fitness levels, but also a chance to build confidence in the younger members of our team."
"Our success is going to be measured by how hungry we are," Bovee said. "We have to have our freshmen and sophomore groups contribute early on. That will be key for us. What the younger runners do to help fill those holes left by our recent graduates will pay dividends in the end."
Competing for the men's team will be senior John Navarro, junior Mat Smoody, sophomore Erik Stanton, and freshmen Sean Senf, Jake Trancoso, Andrew Sandoval, Ryan Rutherford, Wade Reeves and Griffin Nykaza.
"We have a lot of talented runners on our roster," said Bovee. "We have some spunky freshmen that are hungry and seemingly at this point looking like they will be able to come in and adjust quickly. The sky's the limit with a young core like this. We have no set goals other than just getting through one workout at a time and make good decisions each day to get the most out of them."
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