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September 14, 2012

Jones takes fifth at Illinois Intercollegiates

Senior Sarahbeth Jones made her 2012 women's cross country debut a highly successful affair as she placed fifth in the Illinois Intercollegiate Championship on Friday, September 14 at Weibring Golf Course in Normal, Illinois.

NORMAL, Illinois - Augustana senior Sarahbeth Jones (Warren Township HS, Wadsworth, Ill.) had been chomping at the bit to race in the 2012 women's cross country season. She certainly proved she was ready to go by turning in a sterling performance at the Illinois Intercollegiate Championship on Friday, September 14 at Weibring Golf Course in Normal, Illinois.

Jones, who had a tremendous junior season for veteran head coach Fred Whiteside's Vikings, took her performance level up a notch on Friday. Running in a 30 team field that included six NCAA Division I schools, Jones finished fifth in the 5000 meter race with a time of 17:41. Gina Valgoi of Loyola won the race with a time of 17:02, followed by Courtney Yaeger of the University of Illinois in 17:14. Rachael Brewer of Illinois State took third in 17:22 and Sarah McMahon of Bradley finished just in front of Jones with a clocking of 17:40. Jones was easily the best NCAA Division III finisher in the field with the next non-scholarship runner being Julia Sizek of the University of Illinois with a 15th place time of 18:02.

Thanks in large part to Jones' heroic effort, Augustana placed ninth in the overall team standings and the Vikings were the third best NCAA Division III team. The University of Illinois won the team title with 37 points while Loyola was second with 73 and Bradley third with 81. Illinois State took fourth with 97 and NAIA power Olivet Nazarene, coached by former Augustana assistant Mike McDowell, was fifth with 164. The University of Chicago, a division III school, placed sixth with 173 and Eastern Illinois was seventh with 177. Illinois Wesleyan, a member of the College Conference of Illinois & Wisconsin, took eighth with 241 with Augustana scoring 261 in ninth. St. Francis, an NAIA school, rounded out the top 10 with 294 points. A total of 30 schools competed in the event.

Sophomore Becca Sund (Palatine HS, Palatine, Ill.) was the second finisher for the Vikings as she took 56th place with a time of 19:07. Junior Kate Benge (Pleasant Valley HS, Bettendorf, Iowa) was 80th in 19:19 and senior Tara Bistry (Joliet Catholic HS, Shorewood, Ill.) finished 83rd in 19:20. Sophomore Jessica Bacon (Rock Island HS, Rock Island, Ill.) was 88th in 19:23 to round out the top five for Augustana. Senior Kirstillyn Pohlman (Zion-Benton HS, Winthrop Harbor, Ill.) placed 113th in 19:42 and junior Kelsey Stockert (Peoria Notre Dame HS, Mapleton, Ill.) was the seventh finisher for the team with a time of 19:47, good enough for 118th place.

Augustana will host the Brissman-Lundeen Invitational on Friday, September 21 at Saukie Golf Course in Rock Island, Illinois.