Redbird Cross Country Ready for NCAA Midwest Regional
Sean Senf

Sean Senf

Nov. 8, 2012

SPRINGFIELD, Mo. - After winning its second-straight Missouri Valley Conference title and earning a No. 6 ranking in the Midwest Region, the Illinois State women's cross country team is set to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I Midwest Cross Country Regional hosted by Missouri State, Friday afternoon. The women's race 6,000-meter race begins at 12 p.m., followed by the men's 10,000-meter race at 1:15 p.m.

The 2012 Regional will feature 30 men's teams, 35 women's teams and a total of 604 student-athletes who will attempt to advance to nationals. The top-two teams in each race and the top-four individuals in each race not on an advancing team will automatically move on to the next round. There will also be at-large bids for the next 13-fastest teams across the nation, as well as the next two-fastest individuals on both the men's and women's side.

The women's squad will run a team consisting of seven runners. Rachael Brewer, Elise Sigg, Kim Christensen and Kelly McShea will be the force upfront for the Redbirds, as each were named an All-Valley performer for their finishes at the 2012 MVC Cross Country Championships two weeks ago. Brewer holds the fastest 6,000-meter time this season, turning in a time of 20:44 at the Bradley Classic (Oct. 12) for second place and aiding the Redbirds to their first team win of the season. Sigg also posted a top-10 finish, crossing the finishline in seventh place with a time of 21:27.

Christensen and McShea also posted personal-best performances at Bradley, turning in times of 21:36 and 21:58, respectively. Joining the foursome this weekend will be Sarah Castel, Ashley Kamin and Kristen Zillmer. Castel posted a 6,000-meter time of 22:13 at Bradley, while Kamin ran a 22:47. Zillmer is yet to run a 6,000-meter race during the course of the season, but holds a career-best time of 22:08, set last year at the regional meet.



The Redbird women have not had a runner advance to the national meet since 2001, when Stacia Beste finished 41st with a time of 21:32. The women's team has never advanced to the NCAA Championships since the inception of the program in 1982.

The men's side will see three runners competing on an individual level. Ryan Rutherford, Tyler Morse and Sean Senf will lead the way, trying to break the 10-year drought of getting a runner through to nationals, as Christian Goy was the last to do so in 2002. It will be a level playing field however, as the 10,000-meter race is rarely run, if at all, prior to the NCAA Regional and National Championships.

Rutherford is the only Redbird with experience at the distance, running a time of 32:37 at last year's regional meet. Morse and Senf have a pretty solid base at the 8,000-meter distance, holding personal-best times of 25:36 and 25:29, respectively.

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