Men's Cross Country, Track & Field
Fighting Illini to host Illini Challenge

Aug. 28, 2014

Illini Challenge Preview

Illini Challenge
Friday, August 29 (7:00 p.m.) - 6K Race
UI Arboretum//Urbana, Ill.

Meet Preview

The Fighting Illini men’s cross country team begins the 2014 campaign on Friday, August 29, at the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana for the Illini Challenge. The 6K race is set to start at 7:00 p.m.

Coach Stewart on the Meet
“Our goal as a team on Friday is to compete to the best of our abilities in this setting,” said Stewart. “We’ll have a really young group of athletes racing with a lot of guys making their Illini debut. I want to see those guys run tough, run with pride, and run to their current fitness levels. It’s going to be a very familiar setting at home with a quality opponent. It’ll force our guys to make a lot of tough decisions in the race that they’ve not had to make before, and that’ll be a positive. I am looking forward to seeing where some of these guys are at, and how they respond to racing for the first time in a while.”

Illini Set to Run
Eight runners will suit up for the Illini on Friday. Tommy King and Paul Zeman will be the veterans of the group as a young squad will toe the line for the Orange and Blue. Will Brewster, Ryan Burgoon, Joe Cowlin, Alex Gold, Garrett Lee and Alex Notton will also be representing the Illini.

Look at the Competition
Friday’s meet will be a border battle as the Orange and Blue, the fifth-ranked team in the Midwest Region according to the United States Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association’s preseason poll, welcome the University of Missouri, the Midwest’s number seven squad, to the UI Arboretum. The Illinois XC Club will also be competing at the event. The Illini and the Tigers competed against each other at four meets last season. Illinois topped Missouri in three of those four meets, including the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships.

Last Year at the Challenge
The Fighting Illini men’s cross country team won the 2013 Illini Challenge, capturing the title for the ninth consecutive year. The squad finished with 19 points, outdistancing runner-up Illinois XC Club (36) and third-place finisher Hannibal-LaGrange (79).

Five of the top seven finishers donned the Orange and Blue, with Jannis Toepfer leading the way. Toepfer was the overall race winner, breaking the tape with a time of 18:58. Liam Markham followed Toepfer into the chute, claiming second with a 19:05 showing. Tommy King (19:31) and Ian Barnett (19:33) finished fourth and fifth, respectively. Ryan Burgoon rounded out the top five for the Illini, finishing in 19:49 to claim seventh. Jon Vaccaro also competed in the meet, placing 22nd with a time of 21:10.

2013 Illini Challenge - Illinois Results
1. Jannis Toepfer, 18:58
2. Liam Markham, 19:05
4. Tommy King, 19:31
5. Ian Barnett, 19:33
7. Ryan Burgoon, 19:49
10. Garrett Lee (unattached), 20:07
13. Alex Gold (unattached), 20:21
22. Jon Vaccaro, 21:10
24. Alex Notton (unattached), 21:50

2013 Illini Challenge - Team Results
2. Illinois XC Club 36
3. Hannibal LaGrange 79

Up Next
The Illini will be making a road trip out West next weekend, as they travel to Kelso, Washington to do battle with Portland on Saturday, September 6th.