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Redbird Cross-Country Looks to Finish Strong At NCAA Midwest Regional

Written by on November 11, 2021

Image courtesy of goredbirds.com

NORMAL, Ill. – The Illinois State Cross-Country program will travel to Iowa City, Iowa this Friday, November 12th, to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional.
The redbirds look to keep building momentum after coming off a dominant performance at the Missouri Valley Conference Championship, that was hosted by the Redbirds on October 29th.

Both the men’s and women’s teams had a magnificent day at the MVC championship, with men taking home fourth place and the women taking home third place finishes.

First year runners Ailey Mitchell and Charlie Wetzel paved the way for the Redbirds, finishing eighth and 13th place respectively. Mitchell took home All-MVC First Team honors after finishing the 6K race in the top-10. Wetzel also ended the day with an All-MVC Honorable Mention.
Wetzel said that the men’s team had a rocky start to the season after the team was plagued by injuries during the regular season.

“We had a lot of injuries to guys we thought were going to be some of our better runners and be able to help us out on the conference team,” Wetzel said. “Some of the guys I thought I might be able to race with and help pull us through to quicker times, they just were never able to be there on the course when they needed to be.”

Wetzel pointed out that another factor that both teams had encountered during the regular season was the weather, and the effects that it had on the courses.

“We really never had a beautiful day to run a cross country race to be honest, our first two meets were really hot, and our last two meets were really wet,” said Wetzel.

When talking about how the weather affected the Redbirds at the MVC Championship meet, Wetzel said that the weather was not a distraction for the Redbirds.

“I would say the weather didn’t affect us too much, it was definitely tougher than a nice clean day would have been. But at the same time, when you looked at the times across the board, they were not much slower compared to the other races.”

High placements at the Midwest Regional will send runners to the NCAA National Championships, which is being held in Tallahassee, Florida on November 20th.