Women set to compete in cross country Regionals

Tim Eggerding

Tim Eggerding

By Sharon Steed

This weekend is what women’s cross country has been waiting for all season. Tomorrow’s NCAA Regional meet is the runners’ chance to qualify for the NCAA Championships as a team, and also individually.

Head coach Karen Harvey said the team members are performing at their highest level yet and will bring their best game to the regional competition.

“This is the best we can be, the best we’ve been all year,” Harvey said. “We’re confident we’ll go in there and get it done.”

The 16th-ranked Illini, led by sophomore Cassie Hunt and senior captain Jaime Turilli, expect to finish near the top, but Harvey knows some teams could give the Illini trouble.

“Missouri and Oklahoma State are going to give us a fight,” Harvey said. “It’s going to come down to who wants it more, who wants to go to Nationals more – who wants it the most.”

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    Other runners include seniors Lindsey Reu and Tabitha Volling, sophomore Stephanie Simms, and freshmen Maggie Carroll and Rachel Hernandez.

    Turilli and Carroll are both coming off career performances at the Big Ten Championships where they both finished in the top 10, All-Big Ten honors and earning personal best performances. Volling and Hernandez also performed well. Both women scored, and Volling recorded a personal best.

    Hunt, Simms and Reu did not run their best races, but Harvey expects them to perform well tomorrow. She knows the team will rise to the occasion against top competitors.

    “They really want this. I can see it in their workouts. I can see it in their attitude,” Harvey said. “This is my best team on the line.”