Big Ten Championships in Review
Nov. 2, 2005
Despite rainy conditions, the Big Ten Cross Country Championships came down to the final stretch of the 6,000-meter course at the Les Bolstad Golf Course hosted by the University of Minnesota. In the race to the finish, Illinois junior Cassie Hunt broke away from the pack to claim her first individual title with a race time of exactly 21 minutes. Three-time defending Big Ten champion Michigan won its fourth-straight title with three top-10 finishers.
The Wolverines claimed their fourth straight team title, a string that ranks third in championships history for consecutive titles won. Sophomore Alyson Kohlmeier paced the Wolverines, crossing the finish line second with a time of 21:02.74. Kohlmeier, who finished seventh at the meet last year, also earned All-Big Ten honors. Sophomore Erin Webster joined her on the All-Big Ten Team with a seventh-place finish at 21:22.04. Nicole Edwards was close behind, finishing eighth at 21:24.79. Wolverine senior Rebecca Walter, who won the individual title in 2003, came back from an early season injury to take eleventh place overall with a time of 21:32.79.
While Hunt claimed the individual championship, the Illini took second with 60 points, 18 behind Michigan's total of 42. Also finishing in the top five for the Illini, junior Stephanie Simms crossed the finish line at 21:11.84 for fourth place. Minnesota surged to third in the team standings with three finishers in the top six, including junior Emily Brown in third place at 21:11.74.
Indiana finished fourth with 128 points, climbing one spot from their fifth-place finish in 2004. Michigan State, last year's co-runner-up, fell three spots in the team standings to fifth on the heels of three top-30 individual finishers and 145 points. Wisconsin jumped two spots and earned sixth with 146 points, while Iowa double its seventh-place performance from last year, again earning 170 points.
The eighth-place team was Purdue, which moved up a spot from 2004 with its 180-point showing. Ohio State finished ninth with 257 points, Penn State was 10th at 258 and Northwestern rounded out the standings with 294.
In postseason awards announced November 2, Illinois' Hunt captured both the Athlete of the Championships and of the Year awards. She is the first Illini runner in school history to be tabbed as the season's top runner in the conference. Hunt's teammate, Katie Engel, was selected Freshman of the Year, marking just the second time in school history an Illini harrier earned the award. Hunt was named the league's top newcomer in 2003.
Michigan's Mike McGuire earned his fourth-straight Coach of the Year selection and his seventh overall, which ranks second in the league behind the nine annual awards of former Wisconsin coach Peter Tegen. The Wolverines have now finished in the top two at the championships 13 times in 14 seasons under McGuire's tutelage.