Women’s cross country adjust to new coach

By Laura Ewan

The Illinois women’s cross country team may be ranked first in the region and sixth nationally, but not without having to adjust to a new coach. New head coach of the women’s team Jeremy Rasmussen also says he had to adjust to his team.

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“I came in on August 19, our first practice was four days later on that Wednesday,” Rasmussen said. “And so my biggest challenge so far as been making sure I understand where they’re coming from and what they’ve done in the point.”

Rasmussen has four years of assistant coaching cross country and track and field under his belt along with five years of running at the collegiate level. Rasmussen did all of this at Arizona State University. While there, he enjoyed his time largely to abundant success.

“We were two time Pack Ten women’s track and field champions and then in 2005 we were fourth in cross country and got a trouphy,” Rasmussen said. “And then with last year we were the 2007 indoor and outdoor national champions.”

Rasmussen saw an opportunity in Illinois. He knew he wanted to come to a bigger conference. For him, the Big Ten was the best option and the best test for him as a coach.

“The Big Ten, especially on the women’s side, is probably right now the best distance conference in the nation,” Rasmussen said. “And that’s something I was looking for, it’s a great challenge for myself.”

Rasmussen has high hopes for the team this season. His goals include a top three finish at the Big Ten Championship and a top five at nationals. Rasmussen’s team will try to build their resume for nationals in Rock Island on Friday.