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Monday, Nov. 15

ISU cross country wraps up season at regional

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[NOV. 15, 2004]  PEORIA -- An 18th-place showing at the NCAA Midwest Regional put the finishing touches on the women's cross country season Saturday at Newman Golf Course in Peoria.

Cross country coach Chris Bailey took a squad of five individuals to compete at the 11 a.m. 6K. Laura Kennedy finished her career by placing 35th with a time of 21:38.55.

"Laura beat a couple of conference runners who she finished behind two weeks ago at the conference meet," Bailey said. "Laura's finish was a great way to evaluate her career and see the strides that she has made. She ran 20 seconds faster than her personal best."

Others competing for the Redbirds included Diana Ainsley, who finished 98th with a time of 21:38.55, and Leah Smith, who placed 111th with a time of 23:07.25. Suzy Turner was a 133rd-place finisher (23:41.56) and Liz Callham was 160th (24:25.33).

Bailey and the rest of the cross country runners now shift their focus toward the track-and-field season, where Kennedy, Ainsley and junior Betsy McDonald are expected to make big contributions in the middle-distance events. Kennedy was an all-conference performer in the 3,000 steeplechase last season.

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On the men's side, Jeremy Doherty and Dan Tripp will look to defend their titles in the outdoor 1,500 and indoor 800 respectively.

"We're going to take some time off from training to let our bodies and minds heal," Bailey said. "It's time to start shifting our focus though, do our part in training and get ready to have a successful track season."

The Redbird track-and-field season begins when Illinois State hosts the Redbird Open on Dec. 11 in Horton Field House.

[Todd Kober, assistant athletics director, media relations,
Illinois State University]

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