Women's Team Tabbed as Cross Country Favorite

Aug. 20, 2012

ST. LOUIS - The Illinois State women's cross country team has been selected as the top favorite for the 2012 season by a vote of Missouri Valley Conference cross country coaches in their annual preseason poll, as announced Monday by the league.

After winning last year's conference championship, the league coaches picked the Redbirds to retain the title in 2012. The team returns four of the seven members of the championships squad, including three runners who finished within the top 10. The group received seven first-place votes and a total of 96 points largely due to the trio of All-Valley runners (Krista DeCeault, Elise Sigg, and Kristen Zillmer) who will all be returning. DeCeault took second place at the 2011 MVC Cross Country Championships with Sigg and Zillmer finishing fifth and 10th, respectively.

Bradley received one first-place vote and a total of 83 points, while Wichita State received two first-place votes and 82 points, rounding out the top-three.

On the men's side, Illinois State was picked to finish fifth behind Wichita State (4), Drake (3), Indiana State (2) and Southern Illinois (1). A relatively young team, the Redbirds return four of the seven runners who competed in last year's championships and will look to sophomore Ryan Rutherford to guide them throughout the season, as he was the first Illinois State runner across the line last year in 13th place.

Both the men's and women's team open up the 2012 season August 31 at Illinois, as they will compete in the Illini Challenge. The race is slated for a 4:30 p.m., start time at the Illinois Arboretum.

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