Women’s cross country finishes 22nd at NCAA Championships as a team

By Meghan Rest, Sports Editor

The No. 21-ranked Illinois women’s cross country team ran to a 22nd-place finish at the NCAA Division I Championships at Lavern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course in Terre Haute, Indiana Saturday morning.

Junior Allison McGrath, who led the Illini to their team victory at the NCAA Midwest Regional last week, finished first the women’s 6K for Illinois with a time of 21:02 and to earn 65th place overall. She was followed by sophomore Madison Marasco, who finished with a time of 21:27.9 and by junior Rebecca Craddock who crossed the finish line at 21:43.1 to coin 159th place. Sophomore Emma Milburn ran in next for Illinois at 21:24.2, finishing in 166th place. And, the Illini’s top-five was rounded out by freshman Emma Wilson who finished at 21:55.2 and earned 186th place.

Illinois was the fifth Big Ten team to finish at the Championships behind Michigan State, which finished first for the conference in sixth place, Michigan in 13th place, Penn State in 18th place, and Indiana, which finished just before Illinois in 19th place. Ohio State followed Illinois in 23rd place.

The NCAA Championships bookends one of Illinois’ best seasons in 10 years. The 2009 Championships were the last the women’s team competed in, where the Illini finished 12th overall and were led by Illinois Hall of Famer Angela Bizzari, who won an individual national title the same year. Bizzari holds an Illinois school record in the women’s 6K of 19:46.8, besting the previous record by 12 seconds, according to fightingillini.com.

Tuesday, Illinois cross country head coach Sarah Haveman also received USTFCCCA Midwest Region Coach of the Year accolades. Haveman is in her third season as head coach and recently led four individual Illini to top-25 finishes and All-Regional honors at the Midwest Regional last weekend.

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