Wisconsin Set to Defend NCAA Cross Country Championship
Nov. 14, 2006
On Monday, Nov. 20, nine conference squads and eight individuals will compete at the 2006 NCAA Men's and Women's Cross Country Championships, which will be held at the Lavern Gibson Championship Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Complex in Terre Haute, Ind. Indiana State University will serve as host.
The women's 6,000-meter race will take place at 12 p.m. ET, followed by the men's 10,000-meter race at 1:15 p.m. Of the nine Big Ten teams and eight individuals that qualified for the NCAA Championships, a total of 11 were automatic qualifiers, while the remaining six teams and individuals received at-large bids. The Illinois and Michigan State women's squads and Wisconsin men earned automatic bids by way of claiming NCAA Regional titles. Michigan State and Wisconsin both captured the Great Lakes Regional, while Illinois won the Midwest Regional. Iowa's Micah VanDenend captured the men's Midwest Regional crown in 30:40.1, while Michigan's Nicole Edwards (20:50.9) and Iowa's Diane Nukuri (20:34.7) claimed the Great Lakes and Midwest Regional titles, respectively, on the women's side.
Three Big Ten men's teams -- Iowa (13th appearance), Michigan State (28th) and Wisconsin (46th) -- will vie for the nation's top prize. In 2005, the Badgers took home the NCAA title, led by two-time national champion Simon Bairu. Competing as individuals only will be Illinois' Jason Bill (3rd place, Midwest), Indiana's Jordan Kyle (3rd, Great Lakes), Minnesota's Chris Rombough (2nd, Midwest) -- the Big Ten Champion -- Ohio State's John Ealy (13th, Great Lakes) and Penn State's Dan Mazzocco (3rd, Mid-Atlantic).
A Big Ten-record six women's squads will also be competing, matching the conference's best total from 2002. Illinois will make its third-straight and third-ever appearance at NCAAs and will join Iowa (6th and first since 1992), Michigan (18th), Michigan State (8th), Minnesota (10th) and Wisconsin (21st) in Terre Haute on Monday. A pair of Indiana runners advanced individually as the Hoosiers will be represented by Jessica Gall (5th place, Great Lakes) and Lindsay Hattendorf (10th). Also competing individually will be Penn State's Bridget Franek (5th, Mid-Atlantic).
All nine conference squads are ranked in their respective polls. Wisconsin is ranked first in the USTFCCCA Men's Top 30 Poll, followed by No. 24 Iowa and No. 26 Michigan State. On the women's side, Michigan State is ranked fourth in the USTFCCCA Top 30 Poll, while Illinois (5th), Wisconsin (8th), Minnesota (9th), Michigan (10th) and Iowa (24th) round out the conference contingent.
Gates open for spectators at 9 a.m. on Monday, with admission prices set at $5 for adults and students. Children two years and younger are free. Results can be found immediately following the races at www.ncaasports.com and www.indstate.edu/athletic.