6th Place Big Ten Championships
After making great strides in the 2009-10 cross country and track seasons, the 2010 Fighting Illini men's cross country team set its sights high for the 2010 season. Led by an experienced junior class, the Illini aimed to finish in the top five in the Big Ten Conference and move on to qualify for nationals.
The Orange and Blue saw the first two meets of the season as stepping-stones, and they started off strong, finishing first at both the Illini Challenge and the Illinois Intercollegiate. Illinois captured its sixth consecutive title at the Illini Challenge, where five of the top eight runners were clad in orange and blue. Junior Colin Mickow took the individual title with a personal-best 6K time of 18:37, and led the Illini again at the Illinois Intercollegiate, placing second overall.
Illinois had the chance to preview the Big Ten Championships course at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, where they faced tough competition. Junior Dan Kremske had a breakout performance to lead the Illini, clocking a personal-best 8K time of 24:02 and placing 22nd overall. The team finished 10th out of 21 teams.
Two weeks later, the Illini split up to compete in the Bradley Classic and Pre-Nationals. Sophomore Jordan Hebert paced the `B' squad at the Bradley Classic with a 58 second personal best, where Illinois took fourth of 21 teams, and Kremske led the `A' squad at Pre-Nationals with a 62nd place finish. Illinois finished ahead of three Big Ten schools and placed 15th of 35 teams, posting a 66-point team total improvement from last year's meet.
Junior Chris DeSilva won the Illini Open, but Illinois was unable to record a team score because only four runners competed. Heading back to Madison for the Big Ten Championships, the Illini hoped to finish in the top five, as seven of the nine runners had Big Ten Championship experience. Illinois just missed its goal, finishing sixth out of 10 teams.
The Illini wrapped up their season at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championship, placing fifth out of 29 teams. Juniors Jim Riddle and Dan Kremske earned All-Midwest Region Honors with 17th and 24th place finishes, respectively.
The Orange and Blue had multiple runners step up throughout the season, with Mickow, Kremske and Riddle all posting first-place finishes for the squad. Kremske and Mickow each took firdst for Illinois twice and second three times, while Riddle emerged at the end of the season with back-to-back first-place finishes for the Illini. All three runners finished in the top five for the Illini in every meet they competed in.