The Fighting Illini men's cross country team will travel to Michigan State for the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Oct. 28. The 8K race will begin at 10:45 a.m. CT, immediately following the women's 6K race. The meet will be aired tape delayed by the Big Ten Network on Sunday, Nov. 4 at 8 a.m. CT. Jay Wilson, Eric Vetter and Kara Lentz will serve as the announcers for the broadcast.
COACH STEWART ON THE MEET
"We've approached the whole season as taking everyday and making it important. We will do the same with this weekend, if we do that we will have a good day. We've put all the hard work in and now it's time to see it pay off. We're very fortunate to have the upperclassmen who have had Big Ten experience. They know and understand what the atmosphere will be like. We put our younger guys in bigger races during the season to prepare them for postseason. That has definitely paid off. We have a bunch of guys who on any different day can place in any different position for us on our team."
The Illini will square off against the other 10 teams from the Big Ten Conference, excluding Northwestern which does not have a men's cross country squad. The meet is comprised of a tough field, including three teams ranked in the latest USTFCCCA top-30 national poll. No. 11 Michigan leads the field, with No. 20 Wisconsin, the 13-time defending Big Ten champion along with No. 24 Indiana make up the ranked competitiors in the field. The Illini have finished ahead of Michigan State, Nebraska, Ohio State, Penn State and Purdue in previous meets this year.
ILLINI SET TO RUN
The Big Ten Championship squad consists of nine Illini, and three of which are seniors. Only one Illini has competed at the conference meet as Jordan Hebert led the squad last year, finishing 22nd overall, setting a personal-best 8K time of 24:26. Hunter Mickow and Jannis Topefer are the other seniors on the roster, as both have performed well this season. Mickow has paced the Illini in each race he's competed in, resetting his personal bests at the Notre Dame Invitational and then again at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. One sophomore, four redshirt-freshmen and one true freshman will also be on the roster, all of which have set career-bests thus far this season.
2012 Big Ten Championships Roster
Jereme Atchison // Freshman // Arlington Heights, Ill.
Finished second on the team at the Bradley Classic, finishing with an 8K time of 24:58 ... Ran unattached at the Illini Challenge, finishing fifth overall with a 6K time of 18:48.
Ian Barnett // R-Freshman // Glen Ellyn, Ill.
Finished in the top four on the squad in each of the races competed in, including placing first at the Illinois Intercollegiate ... Placed third for the Illini and 123rd overall at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, setting a new 8K career-best time of 24:23 in his first collegiate race of that distance ... Set a personal-best 6K time of 18:46 at the Illini Challenge, finishing fourth overall.
Mark Donohue // Sophomore // Des Plaines, Ill.
Earned a spot on his first conference meet roster by finishing first for the Illini at the Illinois Open ... Set a season-best 6K time of 20:30 at the Illini Challenge ... Recorded a new career-best 8K time of 25:17 at the Bradley Classic ... Scored points for the squad during the Illinois Intercollegiates.
Jordan Hebert // Senior // Elmhurst, Ill.
Scored points for the Illini at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, finishing fifth and covering the 8K course in 24:35 ... Was part of the roster which competed at the Notre Dame Invitational.
Tommy King // R-Freshman // Winnetka, Ill.
Paced the Illini for the first time in his career, finishing first for the squad and second overall with an 6K time of 18:41 at the Illini Challenge ... Clocked an 8K time of 24:28 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, scoring for the Illini after finishing fourth and placing 147th overall ... Finished third for the Illini at the Notre Dame Invitational ... Has scored points for the team in each race he's competed in this season.
Hunter Mickow // Senior // Princeton, Ill.
Has paced the Illini in both races he's competed in this season ... Set back-to-back personal-bests, starting with his 8K time of 24:13 at the Notre Dame Invitational where he finished 24th overall ... Reset personal-best at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, finishing the course in a time of 23:58 and placing 43rd overall ... First time racing at the Big Ten Championships.
Sam Telfer // R-Freshman // LaGrange, Ill.
Finished third on the squad (18:51) and helped Illinois win its eighth consecutive Illini Challenge title ... Crossed the line first for Illinois at the Bradley Classic, finishing with an 8K time of 24:58 ... Was part of the roster for the Notre Dame Invitational.
Jannis Topfer // Graduate Student // Bochum, Germany
Scored points for the Illini in both races ... In his Illinois debut, finished in the top-27 at the Notre Dame Invitational and second on the team with a five-mile time of 24:17 ... Finished runner-up on the squad at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, setting a career-best 8K time of 24:11.
Paul Zeman // R-Freshman // Belvidere, Ill.
Finished 11th overall and second on the team at the Illinois Intercollegiate, setting a personal-best 8K time of 25:15 ... Scored points for the Illini in three of the four meets this season.
LAST TIME OUT
The Fighting Illini men's cross counry team fielded two runners in the Illinois Open last weekend, with sophomore Mark Donohue finishing first for the squad and third overall with an 8K time of 25:57. Finishing behind Donohue was teammate David Eckhart, clocking a time of 26:05.
AT THE WISCONSIN ADIDAS INVITATIONAL
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team placed 24th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The Orange and Blue, who faced their toughest competition of the season, beat three nationally ranked teams and finished ahead of five Big Ten squads. They were led by senior Hunter Mickow for the second consecutive week.
Mickow led the Illini and placed 43rd overall with an 8K time of 23:58, setting a new personal-best at the distance for the second straight week. Finishing second for the squad was Jannis Topfer, who also set a new career-best 8K time of 24:13 and finishing 78th overall. Running in his first collegiate 8K race, Ian Barnett finished third for the Illini and set a huge personal-best time of 24:23 while teammate Tommy King scored points for the team, finishing with a time of 24:28. Jordan Hebert crossed the line fifth for the Illini with a time of 24:35.
The Illini will take a week off before competing in the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Nov. 9 in Springfield, Mo.