Brewer, Rutherford Sweep Valley Weekly Honors
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Sept. 18, 2012
NORMAL, Ill. - Illinois State cross country junior Rachael Brewer and sophomore Ryan Rutherford swept the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Athlete of the Week honors, as announced by the league office Tuesday afternoon.
Head cross country coach Jeff Bovee feels that both are well deserving of this honor.
"Speaking for Ryan, he made a real nice jump with his performance last week," Bovee said. "This was a break-through performance for him and a nice little reward for the hard work he has put in over the summer. As for Rachael, I don't think she really had an idea where her fitness level was at with this being her first race of the season. She was aggressive all the way until the end, and it was nice to see her run up front and lead the race. They are both deserving of this honor."
Both Brewer and Rutherford tested out the 2012 site of the Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Championships, as they both raced at home on the Illinois State Cross Country Course at the Weibring Golf Club. On a near perfect day for racing in the Twin Cities last Friday, both marked the day with a top-five finish in the 2012 Illinois Intercollegiate Cross Country Championships, which invites the best-of-the-best from across the state of Illinois to come and compete.
Making her 2012 debut, Brewer posted a personal-best performance in the 5K championship race, setting the pace for the Redbirds. The Tuscola, Ill., native crossed the finishline in third place with a time of 17:22, after running with the lead pack for the duration of the event. That time ranks her first in the Valley by 18 seconds and was a full 39 seconds better than her previous career-mark.
Shortly after Brewer's race ended, Rutherford made his mark on the Illinois State Cross Country Course. Running out in front the entire race, Rutherford paced the men's squad with a second-place finish overall. The Bloomington, Ill., native paced the lead pack of three throughout the course of the 8K event, taking second in a sprint finish within the last 400-meters by less than a second. His time of 24:25 shattered his previous career-best by 26 seconds and now ranks him first in the Valley.
The Redbird women and men finished fourth and sixth, respectively, with three runners finishing within the top 10. Senior Elise Sigg was the only other Illinois State runner to crack the top 10, finishing ninth in the women's University Division Championship with a time of 17:49.
Both the men's and women's cross country teams will take a break from competition this weekend, as they prepare for the Griak Invitational, Saturday, Sept. 29 in St. Paul, Minn. Fans wishing to follow the Redbirds can do so on GoRedbirds.com and on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC.
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