Oct. 28, 2011

COLUMBUS, Ohio – The Ohio State women’s cross country team is returning to action this Sunday (Oct. 30) after an off week to compete at the 2011 Big Ten Championships at Illinois.

After posting a perfect score at Appalachian State to start the season, the team has gone through some setbacks and illnesses this season, but head to Champaign hoping to improve on their season times and stir up things in the Big Ten field. Ohio State has shown steady improvement at the Big Ten championships in recent seasons and they are geared up to do the same Sunday.

“Big Tens is the race that our season is built around,” assistant coach Chris Neal said. “The team has been looking good over the past couple of weeks and I am excited to see them run this weekend.”

With four Big Ten teams entering the race ranked in the top 30 by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA), the Scarlet and Gray will have to run at their best. No. 15 Michigan State leads the conference. The Spartans are defending champions who look to follow up on their victorious performance as the top ranked team this season. They are followed up in the rankings by No. 19 Michigan, No. 26 Penn State and No. 27 Iowa.

“As always the Big Ten is tough this year and in return we will have to run tough to do well,” Neal said. “I believe this team is up to the challenge.”

The Buckeyes take the course at 12:45 p.m. ET Sunday, Oct. 30 in Champaign, Ill. The 6-kilometer race will take place at the University of Illinois Arboretum for the first time since 2001. A complete recap will be available after the race at

Running this Week…

Katie Betts
Tori Brink
Devin Flood
Nicole Hilton
Molly Jacobson
Jordan Jennewine
Mallory Kreider
Sarah Lowe
Michelle Thomas

“This is the last Big Ten cross country meet for Jordan Jennewine and Sarah Lowe,” Neal said. “These are two young women who have given this program their all for the past 4 years and we definitely want to send them out on top.”

Ohio State at the Big Ten Meet in 2010
Last season then-senior Ellen Birmingham (20:39) placed 10th to help Ohio State finish sixth with 162 points, the squad’s highest finish since 1988. Meredith Wagner (20:49) also made her way into the top 20 as she crossed the line for 16th.

Ohio State in the USTFCCCA Regional Rankings
In the Oct. 24 Great Lakes regional rankings the Buckeyes still sit at No. 7. Several Big Ten teams are ranked in this region including Michigan State, who is at the top of the poll, followed by No. 3 Michigan, No. 4 Wisconsin, No. 5 Indiana and No. 12 Purdue.

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Last Time Out
At the 6k Wisconsin adidas Invitational freshmen Nicole Hilton (21:29) and Michelle Thomas (21:38) were the first two Buckeyes to finish. Jordan Jennewine’s time matched Thomas’ as she finished immediately behind her.

Ohio State’s ‘B’ team finished first at the 5k Wilmington Fall Classic with 83 points. Competing against more than 240 athletes, three Buckeyes placed in the top 15 and all five placed in the top 30. Katie Betts (18:46.83) took fifth and fellow freshman Devin Flood finished seventh in 18:56.07. The third member of the Scarlet and Gray to finish was Katie Borchers who took the 14th spot in 19:16.23.

Up Next
The 2011 NCAA Great Lakes Regional will take place on Nov. 12 at the University of Toledo.