Oct. 28, 2009
Complete Release in PDF Format
All 11 conference schools, including six of the top 30 of the latest USTFCCCA national rankings, will invade University Park, Pa., this Sunday, Nov. 1 for the 29th running of the Big Ten Women's Cross Country Championships. The 6,000-meter race will be held on the Penn State University Blue and White Golf Course with an approximate start time of 11:45 a.m. ET.
The No. 15-ranked Minnesota women’s cross country team will enter Sunday’s championship in the hunt for its third-consecutive Big Ten title. The Gophers edged Wisconsin by a narrow four points at least year’s event to capture only their second team crown in program history. Sitting ahead of the defending champion in the national rankings is Illinois, checking in at No. 13. The two Big Ten frontrunners are followed closely by No. 18 Penn State, with No. 22 Michigan, No. 23 Iowa and No. 27 Michigan State rounding out the conference contingent among the nation’s top 30.
Minnesota will look to uphold its reputation for winning with depth as reigning Coach of the Year Gary Wilson returns five members from the 2008 squad, all seasoned seniors primed to lead the charge at this year’s event. The Maroon and Gold insurgence is headlined by 2008 All-Big Ten first team selection Megan Duwell, who enters Sunday’s championship as the top returning finisher from 2008. She will be joined by three veteran teammates in Jamie Cheever, Amy Laskowske and Mallory Vann Ness as Minnesota returns four of its five top-20 finishers from a year ago.
The Illini will look to senior Angela Bizzarri for leadership as the three-time All-Big Ten first team honoree will be competing for her fourth top-10 finish in as many conference championship appearances. Sophomore Kristin Sutherland will also provide depth for the Orange and Blue after placing inside the top 20 in 2008.
Host Penn State will ook to turn some heads at this year's event and improve from last year’s seventh-place team finish. Senior Bridget Franek will lace up for the last time on her home course where she will look to garner her third-straight top-10 finish, having posted ninth- and sixth- place showings in her past two conference championship events. Franek will be joined by junior Leah Rosenfeld and sophomore Caitlin Lane, who opened the 2009 campaign with a Big Ten Cross Country Runner of the Week laurel.
Also looking to return to the awards podium are Indiana’s Wendi Robinson and Wisconsin’s Hanna Grinaker and Caitlin Comfort.