The Illini men are ranked nationally for the first time in over 15 years.
Sept. 17, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. --The U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) released the first Division I National Coaches' Poll rankings of the regular season on Tuesday. After receiving votes in the preseason rankings, the Illinois men's cross country team is ranked No. 30 in the newest poll, marking their first national ranking in over 15 years.
"I think that the University of Illinois being ranked in the top 30 at this point of the season is great for the guys on the team right now," said head coach Jake Stewart. "They're being recognized for the improvements that we've made as a program over the course of the last 12 months. We know that it's a starting point and that there's a long way to go in the season. For our program to be ranked in the top 30 for the first time in 15 years only reaffirms the positive momentum we have going right now at the University of Illinois."
The ranking comes less than three weeks after the Illini won their ninth-consecutive Illini Challenge title, where four of the top-five finishers were wearing Orange and Blue, including individual champion Jannis Toepfer. Over the weekend, the Illini faced Big Ten competition for the first time at the Boilermaker Invitational. Three Illini finished in the top-15, including newcomer Brendan McDonnell, who finished in ninth place.
Oklahoma State is ranked No. 1, with Northern Arizona at No. 2 and Colorado at No. 3. Other Big Ten schools in the rankings include Wisconsin (No. 10), Indiana (No. 20), Michigan (No. 29), and Michigan State, who is tied for the No. 30 spot with Illinois.
The Illini will be back in action on Friday, Oct. 4 when they travel to South Bend, Ind. for the Notre Dame Invitational.