Illini Place Fifth at Big Ten Championships
Nov. 3, 2013
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. -- The Illinois men's cross country team finished in fifth place at the 2013 Big Ten Championships on Sunday. The squad scored 140 points, with three Illini finishing in the top-30. The Illini were led by graduate student Jannis Toepfer, who improved upon last year's ninth place finish to place sixth with a time of 24:31.6. The Bochum, Germany native earned first-team All-Big Ten honors for his efforts.
"I think the race played out the way we were expecting," said head coach Jake Stewart. "We felt as though we had good position early on, we just weren't able to maintain some of the spots we were in at the tail-end of the race."
Sophomore Liam Markham placed 17th in his Big Ten Championships debut, just three spots away from earning second-team All-Big Ten honors, crossing the finish line with an 8K time of 24:47.1. Junior Brendan McDonnell finished in the top-30 in his first conference championship race, clocking a 25:08.6 to place 29th. Redshirt-sophomore Tommy King (25:24.0) and redshirt-freshman Will Brewster rounded out scoring for the Illini, placing 46th and 48th, respectively.
Redshirt-sophomore Paul Zeman (25:29.1) placed 53rd in his second conference championship, while redshirt-freshman Luke Carroll crossed the finish line in 25:24.4 to finish 66th in his Big Ten Championships debut. Redshirt-sophomore Ian Barnett (25:45.8) and Graham Morris (25:46.0) placed 69th and 70th, respectively.
"Four of five years ago if we finished fifth at the Big Ten meet we would have been really excited," said Coach Stewart."Today we're walking away a little disappointed with the outcome, which says a lot about how far this program has come and where it's headed. We're fit and we had a good race two weeks ago in Wisconsin, it's just a matter of us believing in that. At this point we have nothing to lose. We just need to go out there and run with some excitement and not add any expectations on ourselves, and just run."
Indiana captured the team title for the first time since 1980, with four runners finishing in the top-10 to score 51 points. Michigan (66) finished second, while 14-time defending Big Ten Champions Wisconsin (71) finished third. Freshman Malachy Schrobilgen of Wisconsin won the individual title with an 8K time of 24:31.6.
The Illini have next weekend off before traveling to the NCAA Midwest Regionals in Ames, Iowa on Friday, Nov. 15.
ILLINOIS RESULTS at the 2013 Big Ten Championships