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    Head Coach Jim Knoedel
     
    Head Coach Jim Knoedel
     
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    Aug. 2, 2012

    CHICAGO – UIC track and field/cross country head coach Jim Knoedel announced the addition of nine newcomers to the 2012 cross country team on Thursday.  The men’s team welcomes Billy Clink (Elmhurst, Ill./York), Pat Niyork (Villa Park, Ill./Willowbrook), Marcus Garcia (Palatine, Ill./Palatine), Nick Reyes (Oak Park, Ill./Oak Park-River Forest) and Curtis Weisenberger (McHenry, Ill./McHenry).  The women added Lauren Lindholm (Aurora, Ill./Matea Valley), Emma Preston (East Peoria, Ill./East Peoria), Takshaka Patel (Hoffman Estates, Ill./Hoffman Estates) and Stephanie Sanders (Lockport, Ill./Lockport Township).

    “This is the most talented freshman class we have had in some time and I feel that they can help propel us to the top of the Horizon League,” said head coach Jim Knoedel.  “They will provide the depth we need to solidify our teams and challenge our returning athletes to step up to keep their top spots.  I expect many from this group to grab a coveted All-League spot and hope to see a sweep of the Men's and Women's Newcomer of the Year Awards.”

    Clink comes to UIC from York high school under the tutelage of legendary distance coach Ed Newton.  Clink carries personal bests of 4:21.82 and 9:26.47 in the 1,600 and 3,200 meters, respectively.  He was also a member of the fourth-place team at the 2011 Illinois High School Association (IHSA) Cross Country Championships.


     

     

    Niyork placed 12th as an individual at the 2011 IHSA Cross Country Championships with a personal-best time of 14:43 in the three mile. On May 18, 2012, Niyork posted a career best of 9:09.38 in the 3,200 which ranked 88th in the nation at that time.

    Garcia is no stranger to competitive racing as he notched eight top-3 finishes in the 1,600 and 3,200 during his final track season at Palatine high school.  He placed third at the Mid Suburban League Championships in the 3,200 with a personal-best time of 9:20.80, the 22nd best time in the state.  Garcia also owns a lifetime-best of 4:24.20 in the 1,600.

    Reyes will add depth to the Flames’ distance lineup as he touts career bests of 15:00.00 in the 5,000 and 9:39.27 in the 3,200.

    Weisenberger joins the Flames roster after spending time at Western State College and McHenry County College.

    Preston will add great depth to UIC’s already strong lineup of female 800 runners.  She garnered runner-up honors in the half mile at the class 2A IHSA Track and Field Championships with a time of 2:13.33, a mark that would have placed fourth at the 2012 Outdoor Horizon League Championships.  Preston also won the 800 at the 2011 Illinois Prep Top Times Meet with an indoor mark of 2:16.01.

    Sanders enjoyed a successful high school career at Lockport Township as she helped her team to a 14th place finish at the 2011 IHSA Cross Country Championships, finishing in the top-25 as an individual.  On the track, she owns a personal-best of 5:01.11 in the 1,600.

    Lindholm comes to UIC with career bests of 5:05.40 and 11:02.89 in the 1,600 and 3,200, respectively.  She also placed eighth in the 800 at the 2012 Illinois Prep Top Times meet with an indoor mark of 2:20.70.

    Patel rounds out the quartet of the female cross country newcomers as she carries a personal-best time of 11:29.37 in the 3,200, which placed seventh at the 2011 Illinois Prep Top Time meet.

    The Flames begin their 2012 schedule in a home opening meet set to run in Palos Heights at 10:00 a.m. CST.