Oct. 28, 2010
The 2010 Big Ten Women's Cross Country Championships are set for this Sunday, Oct. 31, at the Zimmer Championship Cross Country Course. The 11 conference teams will begin the six-kilometer race at 10:45 a.m. CT.
Defending Big Ten Champion Penn State looks to repeat after winning its first conference title in 2009. The Nittany Lions will be met by a competitive field featuring five nationally ranked teams and 14 of last year's individual top-20 finishers. Reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Year Nicole Lord, Penn State's top returning finisher from last year's event, along with junior Caitlin Lane and sophomore Brooklyne Ridder lead the way for the Nittany Lions.
Michigan State enters the 2010 Championships as the top-ranked Big Ten team in the country at No. 16. The Spartans return six runners from last year's competition, including 2009 first-team All-Big Ten selection Emily MacLeod and junior Carlie Green, who each placed in the top 15 a season ago.
Not far behind is Minnesota at No. 19, which returns second-team All-Big Ten honoree Kayla Wagner, along with two other runners from last year's third-place Championships squad. The Golden Gophers boast three first-place finishes this season.
Kaitlyn Peale, the top returning finisher from last year's event, leads No. 21 Michigan into this weekend's race. Peale took fourth place en route to first-team All-Big Ten honors in 2009. The Wolverines also return three other competitors from last year's team, which took fourth at the Championships.
Indiana enters the Championships ranked 29th in the country after earning three top-five finishes so far this season. The Hoosiers, who took seventh in last year's event, retain six members of last year's Championships team, including second-team All-Big Ten honoree Sarah Pease.
Rounding out the Big Ten's contingent of nationally ranked teams entering the weekend is Iowa at No. 30. The Hawkeyes return six runners from a team that took sixth in last year's race.
Illinois, led by 2009 top-15 finishers Kristin Sutherland and Chantelle Groenewoud, looks to earn its first conference title after taking second place in last year's event.
Wisconsin enters the weekend seeking its first title since 2000, while Northwestern, Ohio State and Purdue look to earn their first conference crown.