Redbird Cross Country Ready for Valley Championships
Oct. 28, 2011
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men's and women's cross country teams are set to compete in the State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championships, Sunday, October 30, at the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind., hosted by Indiana State. The men will compete in an 8K race starting at 10:30 a.m. EST, followed by a women's 5K race at 11:30 a.m. EST.
The Redbird men enter this weekend ranked fifth in the pre-championship poll, behind Wichita State (4), Drake (3), Indiana State (2) and Southern Illinois (1). Freshman Ryan Rutherford continues to lead Illinois State and will be looked upon to continue his performance at the Valley Championships. Not far behind Rutherford, senior John Navarro is coming off the best race of his career as a Redbird, at the Bradley Classic, and will look to provide depth and leadership to the young core of runners.
Head cross country coach Jeff Bovee feels that the men's team is ready to compete well.
"I feel that the pre-championship polls don't mean anything," said Bovee. "All it shows is how well you did up until now, but at the conference meet, anything can happen. I feel the men will do well and will climb the ladder from their No. 5 ranking. They compete hard and when you do that, you can do some special things. The chemistry and culture of the men's team has changed throughout this season and I look for great things to come."
On the other side, the women's team enters this weekend ranked second in the pre-championship poll, behind conference foe Wichita State. Freshman Krista DeCeault finished up regular season competition, winning all three races she started. Senior Aisha Praught is coming of a personal-best performance at the Bradley Classic, and looks to carry that over into the weekend. Juniors Elise Sigg and Brea Tinney hold times in the conference's top-ten and look to help dethrone the Shockers. Currently, the four of them hold times in the top-ten, with two in the top-five. Sigg earned MVC athlete of the week honors in the beginning of the month, while Praught is a defending all-conference runner.
"The women's team is a different story," said Bovee. "I believe Wichita has won the conference meet six-straight years, and I think our team really wants to change history. They have had some success in the Gateway Conference, but have never won a Valley title in cross country. This is our best team in my time here and I feel they have a lot to prove and show that they are a force to come."
The State Farm MVC Championships can be watched via a live web stream at livestream.com/sycamore_sports. Post-race results can be found on GoRedbirds.com immediately following the meet or at mvc-sports.com.
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