After a three-week layoff, the women's cross country team is ready to get back in action. \nIt has that opportunity Saturday at the Illinois Invitational 5K. \nThe race is more important than results this weekend. The Illinois course is the site for the Big Ten Championship, held Oct. 28.\n"The main focus is to go and run on the course. It will give them an idea of what they can do on a flat course with good footing," said coach Judy Bogenschutz.\nSenior Erin Womble said she also sees the importance of the race.\n"It will be a definite advantage for us because we've been there. We will see it before other Big Ten teams will," she said.\nThe main competition this weekend will come from Navy, Illinois, Northwestern, Wichita State and Butler. Bogenschutz said those teams will be competitive, and the team will have to go out and compete in top form to do well.\nThe race this week marks the return of juniors Allyson Hammond and Amanda Bell. Neither participated in the first race of the season because of injuries. Both said they aren't fully back in terms of endurance, but this race is important to them.\n "This is a race to let me know where I am at in my training. I want to run a very steady race," said Hammond.\n Bogenschutz said it is important to get out and run a good race.\n "We haven't run in a while," she said. "We are in our fifth week of training, which I think is a lot, but it is also good for them. Some of them are really itching to run."\n Bell said the race will really help train for the Big Ten race.\n"You can think about it during workouts," Bell said. "You will know where the turns are at. You will know where the course backs up, and where to stay out of trouble."\nContact staff reporter Tyler Hoeppner at firstname.lastname@example.org \nor 855-0760.
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