Senior Trent Hoerr and the Fighting Illini head to the NCAA Midwest Regional on Saturday.
Nov. 7, 2007
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's cross country team will head to Peoria, Ill. on Saturday to compete in the NCAA Midwest Regional held at the Newman Golf Course. The Illini will face off against three top-25 teams No. 12 Oklahoma State, No. 15 Minnesota and No. 18 Tulsa, in the Regional, which is hosted by Bradley University. The men's 10K race with 25 total teams in competition, will kick-off at 11 a.m.
The Orange and Blue have maintained their No. 5 regional ranking since the second week of the season and look to better that with a strong showing this weekend.
"The goal is always to run up to our level of ability," head coach Wendel McRaven said. "We're ranked fifth in the region, which is nice, but we know that as team we need to be better than top five to qualify for nationals. Our goal is to perform better than our ranking."
The top two teams and four individuals from each of the nine regional championships automatically qualify for the NCAA Championships, held in Terre Haute, Ind. on Nov. 19. On Sunday, the NCAA Division I Track and Field Committee will announce 13 at-large teams to be added to the national championship field. Two additional individuals will round out the championship field of 255.
In 2006, the Fighting Illini finished seventh in a field of 21 teams, with Jason Bill qualifying individually for the national meet with a 10K time of 30:48.
The Orange and Blue will have their top seven runners in the lineup this weekend, with senior Trent Hoerr leading the way. Hoerr is coming off a third place finish at the Big Ten Championships two weeks ago, where he earned first team All-Big Ten honors.
Sophomores Jeremy Stevens and Jacob Nachel also look to be top contributors along with seniors Michael Kelley and Justin Aronson. Rounding out the lineup of harriers are junior Tim Maier and redshirt-freshman Jared Richardson.
"I'm really looking forward to another opportunity," McRaven said. "If our season would have ended with the Big Ten Championships, then it would have ended on a down note. I'm glad that we've got another opportunity to go out and prove to ourselves and to others that we are better as a team than what we ran at the Big Ten meet."
A complete recap and results of Illinois' performance can be found at fightingillini.com at the conclusion of the regional competition.