Kraakevik Takes Third at Illini Open
Oct. 24, 2008
URBANA, Ill. - Illinois State sophomore Jenny Kraakevik took over a minute off her personal-best mark to finish third at the Illini Open coving the Illinois Arboretum 5K cross country course in 18:53 Friday. Her efforts keyed the women to finish second in between Illinois (first-place finish) and Northwestern (third place).
"Jenny had a strong race," said Illinois State head cross country coach Jeff Bovee. "She is a middle distance runner, but she is really learning how to race in cross country. She has improved tremendously and I think this will really propel her into track season."
Senior Natalie Scatena put up a time of 19:10 to place sixth. Filling out the final finishers and earning career-best performances sophomore Lisa Devereux crossed the finish line in 19:40 to place 10th, while freshmen Caitlin Bull (19:45) and Ashley Salzman (19:46) placed 11th and 12th, respectively.
Devereux had a strong performance, digging down deep at the 3,000-meter mark to take a minute off her personal-best time.
"Lisa ran with Caitlin and Ashley for most of the race," said Bovee. "I could tell she was beginning to struggle with only 2K left so I gave her a couple of verbal cues and I could see her put her head down and dig in. I hope that this race was a good confidence builder for her."
The Redbird men placed third and were guided by the efforts of redshirt freshman Nick Geyer who finished 12th with a time of 26:59. Senior Brian Syring (27:18), Kevin Grady (27:25), Drew Isbell (27:44) and Ryan Lay (27:45) rounded out the men's performances placing 15th, 16th, 18th, and 20th, respectively.
"I felt good about Nick's race," said Bovee. "He is still trying to learn how to run cross country, but I feel like he is finally learning how to stretch himself out more and more. The men all put in a good effort and it was a good way for this group to end the season."
The Illinois State cross country team will take to the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championships next weekend in Springfield, Mo., Saturday, Nov. 1.