Illinois Captures Ninth Consecutive Challenge Title
Aug 30, 2013
Urbana, Ill. -- The Illinois men's cross country team opened the season with a win at the Illini Challenge on Friday. Running at their home course, the squad captured the team title and scored 19 points, followed by the Illinois XC Club in second (36) and Hannibal-LaGrange (79) in third.
"The effort was there," said head coach Jake Stewart. "We tried to run as controlled as possible because it was still extremely warm when the race started. It was a simple night, and I'm happy with that. Now we can move forward."
Senior Jannis Toepfer took the individual title, finishing first overall with a 6K time of 18:58. Sophomore Liam Markham finished second overall, crossing the finish line in 19:05. Redshirt sophomores Tommy King (19:31) and Ian Barnett (19:33) finished fourth and fifth, respectively, while freshman Ryan Burgoon made his collegiate debut, finishing seventh overall with a time of 19:49. Freshman Jon Vaccaro also competed in his first collegiate race, running a 6K time of 21:10 to finish 22nd overall.
"The next five or six weeks will be determined by the amount of work we can put in," said Stewart. We set the season up so we could have a nice opener at home then go back to work for the long stretch."
The Illini have next weekend off before traveling to West Lafayette, Ind., the site of the 2013 Big Ten Championships, for the Boilermaker Invitational on Sept. 13.