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2012 Missouri Valley Conference Preview

Saturday, October 27, 2012
Weibring Golf Club
Normal, IL

Exactly 11 years to the day since Illinois State hosted its last Missouri Valley Conference Championship, the biggest meet of the season returns to Normal, Ill., Saturday, Oct. 27. The Redbirds welcome conference rivals to the Illinois State Cross Country Course at the Weibring Golf Club for the 2012 MVC Cross Country Championships. The course is located on the northwest corner of the Illinois State Athletics' district. The women's 5,000-meter championship race will be ran at 10:30 a.m., with the men's 8,000-meter championship event to follow at 11:30 a.m.

The women's cross country team looks to defend its title from a year ago, when the Redbirds ran past a tough Wichita State team, claiming its first Missouri Valley Conference title since the Gateway Conference was absorbed by the Valley in 1992. Four Illinois State runners claimed All-Valley honors, as they finished within the top-10 on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Ind. (Krista DeCeault - 2nd; Aisha Praught - 3rd; Elise Sigg - 5th; and Kristen Zillmer - 10th).

The relatively young men's squad ran to a fifth-place finish at the Valley Championships, with then freshman Ryan Rutherford leading the way with a 13th-place finish overall in the 8,000-meter race (25:37.1).

The Last Time Illinois State Hosted…

The last time Illinois State hosted the conference championships, Percy Family Hall of Fame inductee Stacia Beste claimed the women's individual title by nine seconds, running a time of 17:38, earning all-conference and Athlete of the Year honors. She went on to finish third at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships with a 20:51 performance in the 6,000-meter race, before running to a 41st-place finish at the NCAA Championships. She was the last Redbird to compete in the national meet.

On the men's side, Christian Goy, also a Hall of Fame inductee, was the first Redbird to cross the finishline in the men's 8,000-meter championship race, claiming the second position with a time of 24:52. The men's squad claimed second-place overall to Northern Iowa.

Since Illinois State Hosted Last…

Since Illinois State hosted its last conference championships, the men's and women's teams have each won the team title once (M - 2002; W - 2011), and two Redbird men have claimed the individual title outright (Goy - 2002; Scott Krapf - 2009).

Across the Valley, Indiana State has claimed six team titles on the men's side, while Southern Illinois has claimed two. On the women's side, Wichita State has made a statement of dominance, winning six titles in a row from 2005-10. Prior to that, Missouri State had won four-straight titles from 2001-04.

The Illinois State Cross Country Course at the Weibring Golf Course should provide a lot of excitement, as the course is mainly flat with a few rolling hills, and turns in a lot of fast times. Weather permitting, it will be a great day to race, as the women's team looks to defend its conference title, a feat that hasn't been done since they won three-straight Gateway titles from 1982-84.