Oct. 14, 2010
Friday, Oct. 15 (4:45 p.m. CT) - 8K race
Newman Golf Course // Peoria, Ill.
After a weekend off from competition, the Fighting Illini are back in action at a pair of meets this weekend. Illinois will split up its squad, with the top seven runners heading to Cross Country Town USA for Pre-Nationals on Saturday, Oct. 16 and another group of seven harriers competing at the Bradley Classic on Friday, Oct. 15. Live coverage of Pre-Nationals is available at FloTrack.org.
In Terre Haute, Ind., Illinois will face tough competition amongst a field of 71 squads at Pre-Nationals, which will be split into two separate races. The Illini will run in the 8K Blue Race at 11:10 a.m. while the other half of competing teams will compete immediately after in the 8K White Race on the LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course. Last year, the Illini placed 17th among a field of 35 teams, as Colin Mickow led the way, placing 71st overall, and Chris DeSilva took 78th. Nathan Troester, Dan Kremske and Jim Riddle rounded out the scoring, placing 108th, 111th, and 139th, respectively, in a field of 237 competitors.
The Illini will also send a solid squad to Peoria, Ill., on Friday evening. The Bradley Classic will be run at Newman Golf Course, the site of the NCAA Midwest Regional, with the men's 8K race scheduled for 4:45 p.m.
Coach McRaven on Pre-Nationals
"We don't want to make it bigger than it really is. But if we are going to get to nationals, it is going to help us if we beat the right teams there. We have really talked about translating what we do in training into racing. Our training level is near the highest level I have seen since I have been here, so it is just a matter of putting that together in the race."
Illini Set to Run
The Illini's top seven racers will head to Pre-Nationals, with six juniors and one senior in the lineup. Dan Kremske, who led the Illini for the first time in his career at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, will lead the way along with Colin Mickow, who took home Big Ten Runner of the Week honors earlier this season. Jim Riddle and Nathan Troester, a pair of scorers at this meet a year ago, will also make the trip along with senior Jeremy Stevens, the Illini's No. 3 runner two weeks ago in Wisconsin, Phil Pompei, who is coming off a personal-best performance in Madison, and Nathan Bohne, who had a breakout performance at the season-opening Illini Challenge.
The next seven runners on the Illinois roster are set to race at the Bradley Classic. Sophomore Hunter Mickow, who redshirted last season, will make his season debut along with sophomore Tom Achtien. Fellow sophomore Jordan Hebert will run his fourth meet of the year, while senior Mike Murray, juniors Chris DeSilva and Kyle Engnell and freshman Drew Bell will also compete at the 8K race in Peoria.
A Look at the Competition
The Orange and Blue will face their toughest competition to date at Pre-Nationals, with the field including 18 nationally-ranked teams. Illinois will see how it stacks up against the nation's best, as No. 1 Stanford also will be in the Blue Race along with No. 5 Northern Arizona, No. 15 Florida State and No. 18 Iona. Four of the five other Big Ten schools at the meet are set to compete in the Blue Race, including No. 20 Michigan State, Michigan, Purdue and Ohio State, who is receiving votes in the latest USTFCCCA poll.
At the Bradley Classic, Illinois will go up against a handful of teams, including Bradley, Eastern Illinois, Iowa, Iowa State, Missouri and Southern Illinois.
Last Time Out
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team placed 10th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational in a field of 21 competing squads on Oct. 2. The Orange and Blue finished ahead of three Big Ten squads and were led by junior Dan Kremske for the first time in his career.
Kremske finished 22nd and clocked a personal-best 8K time of 24:02, which is 37 seconds faster than his previous best. Following Kremske was junior Colin Mickow (24:26), who came in 50th, and matched his personal best time from the Illinois Intercollegiate, which earned him Big Ten Runner of the Week honors. The Princeton, Ill., native had led the Illini at the previous eight races he ran dating back to last season.
Senior Jeremy Stevens (24:33) placed 58th in his season debut and came in just two seconds behind his previous personal best from 2007. Rounding out the Illini scoring were juniors Jim Riddle (24:42) in 73rd and Phil Pompei (24:44) in 77th, who both set personal best marks.
The Fighting Illini will host the Illini Open, its final regular season meet of the season, on Friday, Oct. 22 at the UI Arboretum in Urbana.