Illinois women’s cross country shoots for success without Schneider

Illinois+waits+to+start+the+race+at+the+Illini+Challenge+at+the+Arboretum+on+Sept.+4%2C+2015.
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Illinois women’s cross country shoots for success without Schneider

Illinois waits to start the race at the Illini Challenge at the Arboretum on Sept. 4, 2015.

Illinois waits to start the race at the Illini Challenge at the Arboretum on Sept. 4, 2015.

Jovanie De La Cruz | The Daily I

Illinois waits to start the race at the Illini Challenge at the Arboretum on Sept. 4, 2015.

Jovanie De La Cruz | The Daily I

Jovanie De La Cruz | The Daily I

Illinois waits to start the race at the Illini Challenge at the Arboretum on Sept. 4, 2015.

By Mike Gasick, Assistant sports editor

Alyssa Schneider completed her Illinois cross country career with a time of 20 minutes and 12 seconds at the NCAA Championships last season.

Schneider qualified for two NCAA Championships during her time at Illinois. She improved on her 93rd-place performance in 2013, when she turned in a 17th-place finish last year.

The team will now have to find other runners to fill the void Schneider leaves behind. Britten Petrey, who was often a team top-five finisher, also graduated last year.

Seniors Valerie Bobart, Audrey Blazek, Megan Lemersal, Kim Seger and Hanna Winter return for their final season.

The Illini had an up-and-down season last year, opening the season with a first-place finish at the Illini Challenge, ahead of Northern Illinois and Missouri, respectively.

Illinois had third-place finishes in the Illini Open and the Country Financial ISU Challenge.

The team faltered at the pre-nationals race in Louisville, Kentucky, finishing in 43rd place out of 45 teams.

The Illini finished in eighth place at the Big Ten Championships and in 10th place at the NCAA Regional Championships.

The schedule this season includes a new race in Iowa City, Iowa, to compete in the Iowa Regional Preview on Oct. 1. The team will also travel to Peoria, Illinois, to participate in the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 14.

This year’s Big Ten Championships will take place in Minneapolis, Minnesota, and the Regional Championships will be in Iowa City.

Illinois opens the season on Sept. 2 at the University of Illinois Arboretum to compete in the Illini Challenge.

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@mike_mgasick