Men's Cross Country, Track & Field
Illini Begin Season With the Illini Challenge

Redshirt sophomore Ian Barnett and six other Illini will compete at the Illini Challenge on Friday.
Redshirt sophomore Ian Barnett and six other Illini will compete at the Illini Challenge on Friday.

Aug 29, 2013

Illini Challenge PreviewGet Acrobat Reader | Coach Stewart Interview

Illini Challenge
Friday, Aug. 30 (7:00 p.m.) - 6K race
UI Arboretum // Urbana, Ill.

Meet Preview
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team opens up the 2013 season on Friday, Aug. 30, 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
"I think it's a very simple way for us to start the season," said Stewart. "It's good for the guys to be able to sleep in their own beds and not get out of the routine they're trying to establish in the first week of school. It's on our home course, they know what it is. We can continue to work the way we've been working without having to worry about traveling or staying the night anywhere. It's something we've done for a number of years and we always enjoy the opportunity to run at home."

"We have objectives, we have things we want to get out of the meet," said Stewart. "We have to be a little more cautionary due to the weather. We don't want to do anything to put ourselves at risk of interrupting the days leading out of the meet. We want to go and run well, but at the same time we want to set ourselves up to be able to continue with training."

Illini Set to Run
Seven runners will be competing in the Illini Challenge, including NCAA qualifier Jannis Toepfer, redshirt-sophomore Ian Barnett, who placed fourth in the 5k at the Big Ten Championships last spring, and redshirt sophomore Tommy King. Sophomore Liam Markham and freshmen Ryan Burgoon and Jon Vaccaro will make their Illini cross country debut. Four freshmen will be running unattached in the race.

A Look at the Competition
The Orange and Blue compete against a smaller field than last year, with Hannibal-LaGrange, the CU Racing Team, and the Illinois XC Club traveling to the UI Arboretum.

Last Year at the Challenge
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team won the 2012 Illini Challenge, capturing the title for the eighth consecutive year. The squad finished with 26 points, followed by Loyola (57) in second and Lewis (66) in third.

Five of the top 10 finishers were wearing Orange and Blue, with Tommy King leading the Illini. King finished runner-up overall with a time of 18:41, followed closely by Ian Barnett (18:46) who finished fourth. Sam Telfer crossed the line sixth with a time of 18:51, and Joe McAsey (18:55) and Paul Zeman (18:58) finished eighth and ninth, respectively.

Three Illini ran unattached at the meet, with Jereme Atchison finishing second overall with a time of 18:48. Will Brewster (19:02) placed 10th, and Graham Morris (19:30) finished 17th.

Up Next
The Orange and Blue will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., the site of the 2013 Big Ten Championships, for the Boilermaker Invitational on September 13th.