Eleven Big Ten Men's and Women's Teams To Compete in NCAA Championships
Nov. 14, 2007
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. - Eleven Big Ten men's and women's teams and two individuals will compete in the NCAA Championships on Monday, Nov. 19. The event will take place in Terre Haute, Ind. on the Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course at the Wabash Valley Family Sports Center. Indiana State University will serve as host for the weekend. The men's 10,000-meter race is scheduled to start at 12:08 p.m. ET with the women's 6,000-meter racing beginning at 12:58 p.m. ET. Gates open for spectators at 9 a.m. on Monday morning.
Of the eleven teams, seven were automatic qualifiers and the remaining four received at-large bids. On the men's side, Michigan and Wisconsin earned their automatic bids by tying to win the Great Lakes Regional. Minnesota qualified automatically after finishing second in the Midwest Regional. Michigan State's and Minnesota's women's teams were crowned champions of the the Great Lakes and Midwest Regionals, respectively, to qualify automatically. Illinois and Michigan were also automatic qualifiers as each finished second in their respective regionals. The remaining teams participating with at-large bids are Indiana and Ohio State on the men's side, with Iowa and Wisconsin on the women's side. Each of these at-large teams finished fifth or better in regional competition.
Trent Hoerr of Illinois and Bridget Franek of Penn State also qualified individually from the Big Ten. Hoerr was crowned Midwest Regional champion after finishing with a time of 29:56. Franek ran for a time of 20:13 to place fourth in the Mid-Atlantic Regional race.
The Wisconsin men (47th appearance) hope to repeat their 2005 performance and win the national title in this year's event. But the remaining four men's teams - Indiana (31st), Michigan (25th), Minnesota (18th) and Ohio State (10th) - are hoping for the same outcome as well.
A Big Ten record-tying six women's teams will compete this year for the national crown. Wisconsin (22nd appearance) is the only Big Ten women's team who has won the national title after the Badgers finished first in back-to-back years in 1984 and 1985. Michigan State (9th) is participating in the event for the 7th-straight year, the longest current streak in the Big Ten. Illiniois (4th), Iowa (7th), Michigan (19th) and Minnesota (11th) are also vying for the national championship.
In the latest USTFCCCA national men's and women's polls, the Big Ten has 12 teams who are ranked or received votes. The women have four teams in the top 10 with Minnesota leading the way at No. 5, followed by Michigan State at No. 7, Michigan at No. 9 and Illinois standing at No. 10. Wisconsin's men's team is ranked in the No. 5 position.