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Oct. 31, 2014

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COLUMBUS, Ohio – The 19th-ranked Ohio State women’s cross country team battles the best of the Big Ten at the 2014 Big Ten Cross Country Championships this Sunday, Nov. 2, in Iowa City, Iowa.

The University of Iowa’s Ashton Cross Country Course is slated to host the 6k event at 11:45 a.m. ET. A complete recap will available after the race at www.OhioStateBuckeyes.com.   

Setting the Stage
As always, the Big Ten is loaded with talented teams as five squads – No. 1 Michigan State, No. 4 Michigan, No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 19 Ohio State and No. 20 Minnesota – are featured in the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) Top 20. Michigan State and Michigan will dual for the conference crown. The top-ranked Spartans are the defending team champion, while Michigan features 2013 Big Ten individual champion Erin Finn.

Competing Teams (National, Regional)
Illinois (NR, No. 8 Midwest)
Indiana (NR, No. 6 Great Lakes)
Iowa (NR, No. 15 Midwest)
Maryland (NR, No. 15 Mid-Atlantic)
Michigan State (No. 1, No. 1 Great Lakes)
Michigan (No. 4, No. 2 Great Lakes)
Minnesota (No. 20, No. 3 Midwest)
Nebraska (NR, NR)
Northwestern (NR, No. 10 Midwest)
Ohio State (No. 19, No. 4 Great Lakes)
Penn State (RV, No. 5 Mid-Atlantic)
Purdue (NR, No. 11 Great Lakes)
Rutgers (NR, NR)
Wisconsin (No. 8, No. 3 Great Lakes)

Cross Country on BTN
BTN will air tape-delayed coverage of the 2014 Big Ten Cross Country Championships on Wednesday, Nov. 12 at 5 p.m. ET. Check your local listings for the channel in your area.

USTFCCCA Results Wall
Follow what’s happening in Iowa with live social media updates on the USTFCCCA Results Wall. The premise behind this page is to centralize up-to-date results/tweets/commentary of the weekend’s biggest meets into one convenient place where cross country fans can also interact with one another.

Buckeyes Enter USTFCCCA Top 20
Ohio State team was ranked 19th in the nation by USTFCCCA in the Oct. 21 edition of its national Top 30 poll. The appearance in the national rankings is the second in program history and marks the first time the Buckeyes have been ranked among the Top-20 teams in the nation.

Ohio State was ranked in the Top 30 once previously at 27th overall in 2009, a week after the team finished second at the Great Lakes regional championships. The team has received votes in three weekly polls this season.

“It’s a nice nod for our women to receive votes and I’m pleased with where we are at in terms of fitness and health,” distance coach Sara Vergote said. “While rankings are nice, we understand as a team there is a lot of season left. We are excited to continue to prove ourselves every week.”

The Buckeyes were also ranked 18th as a team in the Saucony Flo 50 rankings by Flotrack, while senior All-American Katie Borchers was ranked 25th in the website’s individual athlete rankings.

Borchers is Burnin’
Borchers has enjoyed a remarkable senior season in 2014 as the top Buckeye runner at all four meets. She is a two-time Big Ten Athlete of the Week selection and has set personal-best times at both the 5k (16:19 at Notre Dame) and 6k (20:22 at Wisconsin) distances. In a ranking of the top athletes in Division I this season by Flotrack, Borchers has been as high as 22 and is currently 25th.

“She’s been consistent this season, and it’s impressive for someone who’s blossoming into an XC talent,” the website said. “Her aggressive running will take her far in Terre Haute.”

OSU in the USTFCCCA Regional Rankings
The Buckeyes climbed one spot to No. 4 in the Oct. 20 edition of the USTFCCCA Great Lakes regional rankings.

No. 1 Michigan State is the top-ranked team in the region, followed by No. 4 Michigan, No. 8 Wisconsin, No. 19 Ohio State and No. 27 Toledo.

A Look Back at Last Year
Fueled by Top-10 finishes from juniors Michelle Thomas and Borchers, Ohio State placed fifth overall at the 2013 Big Ten Cross Country Championships, the squad’s best finish at the conference meet in 29 years.

Thomas and Borchers finished fourth and sixth, respectively, in times of 21:04.1 and 21:07.2, earning First Team All-Big Ten honors in the process. The duo joined Maureen Cogan (1984) and Kathryn Monard (1986) as the only first-team selections in school history.

Nicole Hilton (49th, 22:16.2), Sakiko Minagawa (22:18.7) and Helen Willman (59th, 22.29.9) also scored for the Buckeyes.

Last Time Out
The Buckeyes competed at the adidas Invitational in Madison, Wis., Oct. 17.

Ohio State defeated nine Top-30 teams on its way to a 14th-place finish overall at Wisconsin. Racing against a 38-team field featuring 22 ranked opponents and 265 athletes, Ohio State closed the meet with a team score of 443.

OSU was led by Borchers, who placed 19th overall in a personal-best 6k time of 20:22, 15 seconds faster than her previous record. Thomas finished second for the Buckeyes and 84th overall in a time of 21:15.

Up Next
Ohio State runs at the 2014 NCAA Great Lakes Regional Championships in Madison, Wis., Nov. 14.