Junior Jeremy Stevens has led the Illini with two first place finishes this season.
Oct. 30, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, ILL. - For the Fighting Illini men's cross country team, four months of preparation come down to one race this weekend. The Orange and Blue will travel to Ann Arbor, Mich., for the Big Ten Championships meet on Sunday, November 2. The race will be held on the University of Michigan Golf Course with the men's 8K race set for a 10:30 a.m. start.
Consistently featuring one of the top fields in the nation, the Big Ten Championships will certainly test the Illini. Four of the teams competing will bring USTFCCCA national rankings with them, including No. 6 Wisconsin, looking to defend last year's title. Other ranked teams include No. 9 Michigan, No. 19 Indiana and No. 20 Minnesota.
"The Big Ten is undoubtedly the deepest cross country conference in the country," cross country coach Wendel McRaven said. "Its exciting to have the opportunity to be in that atmosphere, knowing that from top to bottom every school is serious about cross country. When you go to the Big Ten Championships you know you are in for a dogfight."
Nine athletes will have the honor to compete for the Orange and Blue. They are led by junior Jeremy Stevens who earned two individual titles this season, in addition to leading all Illini athletes in three out of four meets. Other Illinois athletes include freshmen Nate Bohne, Kyle Engnell, Dan Kremske, Colin Mickow, Hunter Mickow, Nathan Troester and juniors Mike Murray and Garrett Weaver.
"The guys are fresh and prepared to perform to the best of their abilities," McRaven said. "They just need to go into the meet with the mindset that they are determined to compete up to their abilities. We have seen progression throughout the season and that should continue this weekend."
Up next for the Illini is the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Stillwater, Okla., on Nov. 15.