Jannis Toepfer competed in the national meet for the second straight year.
Nov. 23, 2013
TERRE HAUTE, Ind. -- Jannis Toepfer closed out his Illinois cross country career by competing at the NCAA National Championships on Saturday. The Bochum, Germany native ran the 10K race against 253 other competitors and finished 115th with a time of 31:25.5. It was Toepfer's second time competing in the national meet, and the third straight year that at least one individual from the squad has qualified for the championships.
"He's disappointed with his performance," said head coach Jake Stewart. "It was a tough day. The conditions made it one of the tougher settings I've ever seen for the meet with the wind, mud and cold. He just never got in the rhythm that we were hoping he would and never quite settled in."
Toepfer qualified for the national meet after placing third at the NCAA Midwest Regional last weekend, the highest finish for an Illini since 2007. His 10K time of 30:31 was just four seconds off from his personal-best time at that distance.
Toepfer had a very successful season, leading the Illini in every meet he competed in. Before earning All-Region honors last weekend, he finished sixth at the Big Ten Championships to earn All-Big Ten honors for the second time in his career. Toepfer also entered the record books this season after clocking an 8K time of 23:50 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, which is tied for the fourth-fastest 8K time in school history.
"He's had a great season and a really tremendous career," Stewart said. "I told Jannis after the race that he's done more for the program in two years than a lot of guys could do in four or five years. He's had a great career and he's been incredibly good for this program. It's tough to see him go, but he's certainly capable of coming back and doing well in indoor and outdoor track."
No. 3 Colorado took the team title, with No. 1 Northern Arizona and No. 2 Oklahoma State finishing second and third, respectively. Big Ten opponents No. 20 Indiana and No. 17 Wisconsin each finished in the top-10, finishing ninth and tenth, respectively. Freshman Edward Creek of Oregon captured the individual title with a time of 29:41.1, finishing 18 seconds before the next competitor.