ISU Cross Country Picked Fourth and Fifth in Preseason Poll
Junior Mike Richardson
Junior Mike Richardson

Aug. 28, 2007

ST. LOUIS - The Illinois State women's cross country team was picked to finish fourth,while the men's team was picked to finish fifth in the 2007 Missouri Valley Conference preseason cross country coaches poll, as announced by the league office Tuesday.

Last season the Redbird men's and women's cross country team were picked to finish eighth and fifth, respectively by the 2006 preseason coaches' poll.

Head cross country coach Jeff Bovee feels that the jump in the polls is a reflection of how his distance runners improved during the 2007 track and field season.

"After finishing seventh in The Valley on the women's side and eighth on the men's side last season during cross country, moving up three spots in the preseason coaches' poll is a reflection of how our runners improved their performance during the track and field season," said Bovee. "I also believe that it is a reflection of our strong recruiting class."

The women's team checked in at No. 4 with 62 points, up one spot in the polls from last year. The Redbirds finished seventh at the 2006 State Farm MVC Cross Country Championships.

Wichita State stands on top of the women's preseason poll with 99 points. The Shockers are looking for a three-peat to continue their current winning streak of two-consecutive Valley titles. Missouri State comes in second with 90 points, followed by Northern Iowa (80 points). Rounding out the women's preseason poll, Southern Illinois (58) was picked fifth behind ISU, while Bradley (52), Indiana State (44), Drake (33), Creighton (20) and Evansville (12) encompassed the final five postitions.

For the Redbird women, six of the top-seven runners from the 2006-07 season return for the Redbirds. The women's cross country team captain Suzy Turner, along with KathleenThompson and Kim Ebbesen, are the three that will be leading the Redbird women's team. Nine incoming student-athletes join the returning seven on the Redbird women's cross country team.

 

 

The Illinois State men's cross country team was picked to finish fifth in the preseason coaches poll, garnering 53 points. The men's team moved up thee spots from last year's poll after finishing eighth at the 2006 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships.

Southern Illinois topped the men's poll with 77 points. The 2006 State Farm MVC Cross Country Champions Indiana State checked in at No. 2 with 68 points, followed by Drake (57) and Wichita State (55). Coming in behind Illinois State in sixth place was Northern Iowa (39), followed by Bradley (29), Creighton (15) and Evansville (12).

The Redbird men return seven runners, including the top-three conference finishers. Junior cross country team captain Mike Richardson finished in 25th place at the 2006 conference championships, followed closely by sophomores Jordan Anderson (28th) and Scott Krapf (34th).

The men's team added 10 talented cross country runners to the 2007 squad. The young squad features Matt Mroczynski of Pulaski, Wis., who was the 2006 Wisconsin State Cross Country Champion. Luke Ryan from Downers Grove, Ill., placed 10th at the 2006 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Cross Country Championship, followed by John Navarro of Glen Ellen, Ill., who came in 15th and Schaumburg, Ill., native John Roberts, who placed 23rd at the state cross country meet.

Bovee is confident that his teams have the ability to surpass their preseason rankings.

"We are going to have to take this season one meet at a time," said Bovee. "If each team is able to improve its confidence and learn from its mistakes, we can certainly surpass our preseason ranking and become a top team in the conference."

The ISU men's and women's cross country teams start their season Friday at the Illini Open in Champaign, Ill., at 5 p.m.