Sunday, November 14, 2010


For the third year in a row, the ICC women finished as one of the top dozen teams in the nation by virtue of a 12th place finish at the NJCAA Division I Cross Country Nationals held at Spartanburg, SC yesterday. They were led by Michelle Carter, who finished in 40th place with a PR 19:27, which moved her into the 4th position on the all-time women's list with the 8th fastest performance. Other scorers for the Cougars were Raven Pettry (20:10), Kayla Christ (20:35), Deidra Klaus (20:56), and Jordyn Hull (21:13). A gutsy Danie Fisher was the 6th finisher with 21:58, followed by Olivia Renken, who's 22:29 was a huge PR. The sophomore trio of Michelle, Raven, and Kayla retire as the 4th, 7th, and 8th fastest Cougars all-time.
The men didn't quite achieve their goal of finishing in the top 25, but came close with a 27th place finish in the strong field. Ryan Van Fossen led the way with a time of 27:15, good for 84th place. Sophomores Nick Leiby and David Lawson ran 28:14 and 28:26 respectively, while freshmen Trenton Hopper and Brett Curry followed with 28:37 and 28:43. To this coach's recollection, that is the first time we have had 5 guys under 29:00 in the national meet. Clayton Gale PR'd with 31:22 and Caleb Ulrich ran 34:35 as the 6th and 7th Cougar runners.
A great year ends with lots of good memories. This team will be missed.

Thursday, November 4, 2010

Cougars Head to Nationals!

The ICC Cougar Cross Country teams head to nationals with high expectations for their best finishes ever. With eight of the 14 runners having recorded personal bests at Regionals, they appear to be reaching their peak at the right time.
The nationally 10th ranked women have been led this season by the sophomore trio of Raven Pettry, Michelle Carter, and Kayla Christ, but frosh Deidra Klaus has been improving rapidly and is starting to mix it up with the veterans. Not far behind are sophomore Danie Fisher and frosh Jordyn Hull, giving the Cougars a solid top six. If the team is to finish in the top ten, at least two will need to finish in the top 30, with the rest also scoring well. Based on recent workouts and meet finishes, this is very do-able.
The men are out to prove that those who rank teams were wrong in voting ICC out of the top 25. Despite a couple of runners being nicked up, the Cougars finished a strong second behind 21st ranked Danville at regionals. Freshman Ryan Van Fossen has been the number one runner all season and recorded the sixth fastest ICC time ever at the regional race. Given his recent improvement, he has a legitimate chance of breaking the 26 minute barrier and becoming the first men's All-American since Jeff Erickson back in 2004. Also improving at regionals was number two runner David Lawson, who finished in the top 10 by passing three runners in the last mile. Nick Leiby has been a solid force all season and will again come through at nationals. Though nursing injuries, Brett Curry and Trenton Hopper are running well in the 4th and 5th spots. Trenton had a huge PR with his 28:07 at regionals. Clayton Gale and Caleb Ulrich round out the 6th and 7th spots. Clayton is just now getting into shape after joining the team late. Caleb showed great promise early, but has been plagued by injuries for most of the season. He will be running for nationals experience.
The team leaves for Spartanburg, SC on Thursday, November 11 and will race on Saturday the 13th. Wish them well!

Saturday, October 30, 2010

Women capture Regional title; Men second

For the fifth time in nine years, the ICC women have captured the Region 24 title, this year with a dominating performance. Led by Raven Pettry's PR 19:40 something (no times available at press time!) in second place, the ladies took 6 of the top 11 places to score 17 points and beat second place Lincoln by 37 points. Raven was backed up nicely by Michelle Carter in 3rd, Deidra Klaus in 5th, Kayla Christ in 6th, Danie Fisher in 9th, Jordyn Hull in 11th, and Olivia Renken in 17th place. The Cougar Ladies are currently ranked 11th in the country and have yet to be topped by a Junior College team.
The men had a tougher task, with both Danville and Rend Lake coming into the race ranked ahead of them. Halfway through the race, it looked like the form charts would hold, but the Cougars would not give up. The entire team moved up quickly and finished with a flurry to take 5 of the top 15 places and finish second with 55 points. Danville, behind their 1-2 finish, won with 44, while perennial defending champion Rend Lake finished third with 59. Cougar placers were Ryan Van Fossen in 4th, David Lawson in 9th, and Nick Leiby, Trenton Hopper, and Brett Curry in places 13 through 15, respectively.
Next up: Nationals. Hosted by Spartanburg Methodist College in Spartanburg, SC on Saturday, November 13.

Sunday, October 17, 2010

Cougars Capture Men's and Women's Skyhawk Trophies

The ICC men's and women's cross country teams dominated the Skyhawk invitational at Sauk Valley Community College yesterday. The women captured 6 of the top 10 places to score 23 points and easily dominate the North Central College "B" team. Michelle Carter sprinted past defending champ Victoria Casteneda of Sauk with a mile to go and won going away with a fine time of 19:39.8 on the 3.04 (3.10?!) mile course. She was followed by Raven Pettry in 3rd, and Kayla Christ in 4th places. Jordyn Hull, Deidra Klaus, and Danie Fisher ran their best races of the year in finishing in places 8, 9, and 10 respectively.
Not to be denied, the men put together their best effort as a team so far to gain revenge on nationally 21st ranked Waubonsee. Placing 5 runners between slots 6 and 15, the Cougars tallied 47 points to dominate Waubonsee and College of DuPage, who tied for second with 78. Ryan VanFossen and Brett Curry finished just 4 seconds apart in places 6 and 7, and were followed closely by David Lawson and Nick Leiby in the 9th and 10th positions. Led by Ryan's 28:12, just 23 seconds separated the Cougar top 4. Trenton Hopper took the last t-shirt home with him by virtue of his negative-split 15th place finish.
Coach's Comment: "I love the way the teams met the challenges we presented to them. This was a great tune-up for the regional meet in two weeks."
Regionals will be held at Winter Park Sports Complex in Danville on Friday, October 29th. Race time is 4:30. The ICC women, nationally ranked 10th, are top ranked in Region 24. The 25th ranked men are second ranked in the region behind the host school, ranked 19th nationally.

Saturday, October 9, 2010

Women's Team is Junior College champ of the Benedictine Invitational

The ICC women's cross country team repeated as junior college champs of the Benedictine Eagle Invitational yesterday. The close knit sophomore trio of Michelle Carter, Kayla Christ, and Raven Pettry finished in 12th, 16th, and 17th places, respectively. Jordyn Hull in 41st and Danie Fisher in 56th place completed the scoring. Danie more than adequately stepped up to fill in for the injured Deidra Klaus. The team finished 4th overall in the strong field.
The men's team also competed well, finishing 7th overall and a close 2nd to Waubonsee in the Junior College division. They were led by frosh Brett Curry in 42nd place. No doubt the fresh haircut assisted in his 27:57 time! David Lawson, Nick Leiby, Ryan Van Fossen, and Trenton Hopper completed the scoring.
Next up for the Cougars will be the Sauk Valley Invite on Saturday, October 16. We'll be aiming for you, Waubonsee! This will be the last tune-up before the Regional championship meet at Danville on October 29.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Cross Country Teams continue to run well

Both the men's and women's cross country teams finished first among junior colleges at the Augustana Brissman/Lundeen Invitational yesterday. Overall, the women were 15th of 24 teams and the men were 18th of 26.

No junior college team was close to the 10th ranked women, who were once again led by sophomore Raven Pettry. Her time of 24:05 makes her the second fastest ICC 6K runner ever with the 4th fastest time. Michelle Carter (pictured) also broke into the top 10 times - her 24:13 now standing in the 7th position. Six of the 7 lady Cougars recorded PR's with Kayla Christ missing hers by just a second.

The 18th ranked men got a challenge from Southwestern Community College, but prevailed as 5 of the 6 runners scored personal bests. Ryan VanFossen again led the charge with a strong 26:39, which now stands as the 10th fastest Cougar time (6th fastest individual.) Brett Curry (pictured), David Lawson, and Nick Leiby were all under 27:46, the first time a Cougar men's team has accomplished this in one race. Freshmen Trenton Hopper and Caleb Ulrich also scored PRs.

The Cougar Harriers now have 2 weeks to prepare for the Benedictine Invitational in Lisle on October 8.

Sunday, September 19, 2010


Here's proof that you have to be a little crazy to be a distance runner!
Click on the image to enlarge.