PEORIA, Ill. -- Bradley women's cross country/track and field head coach Marc Burns will welcome 10 freshmen for the 2012-13 school year with Wednesday's announcement of the Braves most recent recruiting class. The class features six individuals from the state of Illinois, two from Wisconsin and one each from Iowa and Minnesota.
The incoming class includes two pairs of twins - Caitlin and Kristen Busch (Freeburg, Ill./Freeburg) along with local products Ashley and Caitlin Pribble (Morton, Ill./Morton). Among the recruits accomplishments are the 2010 Class 1A state individual champion, two state track and field titles in the 3,200 meters, nine top-10 state finishes in cross country and 11 top-10 showings at state track and field championships.
The incoming class also includes the first Bradley runner from the state of Iowa since the 2007-08 season in Arden Betzer (Central City, Iowa/Central City) and first Minnesota product since 2000-01 in Lauren Friese (Fairmont, Minn./Fairmont). The Braves also welcome Danielle Devito (Glenview, Ill./Glenbrook South), Lauren Houmes (Hoopeston, Ill./Hoopeston), Rachel Sudbury (Tomahawk, Wis./Tomahawk) and Liz Smits (McFarland, Wis./McFarland).
"This is one of the deepest and most talented recruiting classes we have ever had here at Bradley" Burns said. "This group is full of all the types of young women you would want in your program. There are some women that will develop into great emotional leaders on our team and others that will lead by example. I want to thank Coach Esche and Coach Stubbs for all of their hard work in making this class a reality. Our mission is to challenge for a MVC title in cross country next year and we have taken a big step toward that goal with this recruiting class. Each of these women chose Bradley for our up and coming program and high level academics. There will be a sea of Bradley red coming down the final straightaway next year and we are excited to get them going."
Bradley is expected to return 11 letterwinners from the 2011 cross country team, including all eight individuals who ran at the 2011 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship. The Braves finished third at the MVC Cross Country Championship this fall for the team's highest finish since 2009. The track and field team is coming off its highest point total at the conference indoor championship since 2000.
Arden Betzer w Fr. w Central City, Iowa (Central City)
Bradley's first runner from the state of Iowa since Ainslie Schultz (2004-08), Betzer finished sixth at the Iowa Class 1A state cross country championship last fall. In the 1,500 meters, she finished third at the 2011 Class 1A state track meet in addition to a fourth-place finish in the 3,000 meters last spring as a junior.
Caitlin Busch w Fr. w Freeburg, Ill. (Freeburg)
A two-time state qualifier in cross country, Caitlin finished fourth at the IHSA Class 1A state cross country championship as a junior in 2010. This past fall she placed 12th overall at the 2011 IHSA Class 1A state championship. On the track, she posted a second-place showing in the 1,600 meters at the Class 1A state championship in 2011.
Kristen Busch w Fr. w Freeburg, Ill. (Freeburg)
The 2010 IHSA Class 1A state cross country champion as a junior, Kristen claimed the 3,200 meter state champion as a junior last spring and the 3,200 meter indoor state title earlier this year. She also finished third in the 1,600 meters at the state meet in 2011 and placed fourth at the IHSA Class 1A state cross country championship during her senior year.
Danielle Devito w Fr. w Glenview, Ill. (Glenbrook South)
As a junior, Danielle finished 13th in the 3,200 meters at the 2011 IHSA Class 3A track and field championship. This fall, she finished 27th at the IHSA Class 3A state cross country championship.
Lauren Friese w Fr. w Fairmont, Minn. (Fairmont)
A two-time qualifier for the state cross country championship, Friese finished fourth as a junior despite battling the flu. Dealing with injuries leading up to the 2011 state cross country championship, she finished 10th overall as a senior.
Lauren Houmes w Fr. w Hoopeston, Ill. (Hoopeston)
Houmes was a sixth-place finisher at the IHSA Class 1A state cross country championship as a senior.
Ashley Pribble w Fr. w Morton, Ill. (Morton)
Ashley Pribble finished second in the 3,200 meters at the 2011 IHSA Class 2A state track and field championship as a junior. This fall, she finished 34th at the Class 2A state cross country championship following a 75th-place finish during her junior year.
Caitlin Pribble w Fr. w Morton, Ill. (Morton)
Like her twin sister Ashley, Caitlin had a strong showing at last year's IHSA Class 2A state track and field championship, finishing sixth in the 3,200 meters. A two-time state qualifier in cross country, she finished 30th at the IHSA Class 2A cross country championship as a junior and placed 83rd this fall.
Liz Smits w Fr. w McFarland, Wis. (McFarland)
A fourth-place finisher at Wisconsin's Division 2 state cross country championship as a senior, Smits finished ninth in the event in 2010 as a junior. Part of the ninth-place 4x800 meter relay team at the 2011 state track and field meet, she took seventh in the 3,200 meters her junior year.
Rachel Sudbury w Fr. w Tomahawk, Wis. (Tomahawk)
A two-time state qualifier in cross country, Sudbury has also qualified for the Division 2 state track and field championships twice. Her sister Sarah was a four-time letterwinner on the cross country and track and field teams at St. John's.