Rutherford, Brewer Lead Redbirds at Illinois Intercollegiate
Elise Sigg and Rachael Brewer
Elise Sigg and Rachael Brewer

Sept. 14, 2012

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NORMAL, Ill. - On a near perfect day for racing in the Twin Cities, Illinois State's Ryan Rutherford and Rachael Brewer both posted personal-best performances to lead the ISU men's and women's cross country teams at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championships held at the Weibring Golf Course.

Head cross country coach Jeff Bovee was pleased with the performances by both Rutherford and Brewer.

"Both of them had an excellent race," Bovee said. "Rachael showed how much she pays attention to detail by how well she ran today. She does all the little things right and she really turned a corner in her first race out this season. As for Ryan, for still being a young man, he made tremendous gains from last week. He showed his confidence in himself running with the lead pack the entire race, and timing his kick perfectly. They both strung together a great race."

The men's 8K race had a very quick pace, with 19 runnners finishing with times under 25 minutes. Rutherford ran to a second-place finish in the men's university division with a personal-best time of 24:25, finishing just a second behind race winner Sam Penzenstadler of Loyola, as the Redbirds finished in sixth place overall with 127 points. Tyler Morse, who finished with a personal-best of 25:36, was the second ISU runner to cross line, finishing in 21st place. Sean Senf (26:15), D.J. Taylor (26:17) and Scott Janusick (26:41) rounded out the top five for the Redbirds in the race.

"The youth and inexperience showed today on our men's side," Bovee said. "We are looking for the guys to do what they have been doing in practice and try to put it all together. We need them to run with a lot more confidence."

In the women's 5K race, Brewer and teammate Elise Sigg each finished in the top 10 to help the Redbirds to a fourth-place finish overall in the university division. Brewer was third with a personal-best time of 17:22, which shattered her previous best by 39 seconds, to lead the way for the Redbirds. She was behind Gina Valogi from Loyola, who set a new course record with a time of 17:02, and Courtney Yaeger from Illinois in second place with a time of 17:14.

Sigg ran to a ninth-place finish with a time of 17:49 to secure a top-10 finish, while Kelly McShea finished in the top-15 with a personal-best effort of 18:06. Sarah Castel (18:34) and Kimberly Christensen (18:50) each set new personal bests as well to round out the scoring for the Redbirds in the race.

"I was disappointed with the finish of our women's team," Bovee said. "We have won this race two out of the last three years and today we struggled with our depth. The key for us moving on is developing the second half of our top-seven and coming ready to compete every day."

The Redbirds will take a week off, before hitting the course again September 29 at the Roy Griak Invitational in St. Paul, Minn.

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