Riddle Qualifies for NCAA Championships
Nov. 12, 2011
DeKalb, Ill. - The Fighting Illini men's cross country team placed fifth out of 25 teams at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Saturday in DeKalb, Ill.
"I wanted to walk away from the meet today with my head held high and I am based on how we did today," said head coach Gavin Kennedy. "I thought we did very well as a team. They ran how I expected them to run even though we fell as bit short on our goal as a team. The guys pressed early on in the race and were right in the stick of things. They laid it all out on the course and ran very hard."
Senior Jim Riddle automatically qualified for the 2011 NCAA Championships by leading Illinois and finishing 12th overall, completing the 10K race in 31:34.79. This will be Riddle's first appearance at the championships. Finishing second for the Illini and 17th overall was junior Jordan Hebert, finishing with a time of 31:40.64. Hebert may join Riddle at the national meet as he is on the bubble until at-large decisions are made tomorrow. Both Riddle and Hebert earn All-Region honors for their finish. This would mark the second time in program history the Illini have sent two individual runners to the national championships. Illinois last qualified an individual in 2007 when Trent Hoerrwon the regional title.
"I went into this season going to qualify for nationals," Riddle said. "Today I found myself in the lead pack early on in the race and I felt like I belonged out there. There was a sense of urgency for today's race because I didn't want this to be my last race as an Illini. I wanted this very badly."
Crossing the finish line third for the Orange and Blue was senior Colin Mickow, who timed 32:13.64 with a 33rd place finish overall. Also scoring points for the Illini were seniors Phil Pompei (32:27.35) and Nathan Troester(32:43.17), who finished 43rd and 51st, respectively.
Oklahoma State captured the team title with a total of 42 points, narrowly beating Oklahoma which scored 45 total tallies. Hassan Mead of Minnesota took the individual crown with a 10K time of 31:16.87.