Men's Cross Country, Track & Field
Illini Travel to Big Ten Championships

Jannis Toepfer earned second-team All-Big Ten honors at the 2012 Big Ten Championships.
Jannis Toepfer earned second-team All-Big Ten honors at the 2012 Big Ten Championships.

Nov. 1, 2013

2013 B1G Championships PreviewGet Acrobat Reader | Coach Stewart Interview

2013 Big Ten Championships
Sunday, Nov. 3 (9:45 a.m. CT) - 8K Race
West Lafayette, Ind.

Meet Preview
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team will travel to Purdue for the Big Ten Championships on Sunday, Nov. 3. The 8K race will begin at 9:45 a.m. CT. The meet will be aired tape delayed by the Big Ten Network on Thursday, Nov. 14 at 11 a.m. CT. Jay Wilson, Eric Vetter and Kara Lentz will serve as the announcers for the broadcast.

Coach Stewart on the Meet
"The big thing in any sort of championship race is being aware of what's going on," said Coach Stewart. "We need to have a very good grasp of how the race is playing out and be prepared to react, move, stay engaged, and stay connected with one another. We're not trying to make this meet any different than anything we've done prior to this. We did a good job of that at Wisconsin, now it's continuing to do that at Big Tens."

"It's good to be familiar with the course," said Stewart. "Racing it on Sunday is going to be completely different than what it was at the Pre-Big Ten meet in September, and it will be drastically different than what it was in August when we were over there for a practice. We know what the course looks like and we have an idea of where the markers are throughout the course of the race, but the way we feel in the middle of the race on Sunday is going to be completely different than anything we've done thus far."

Championships Field
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. 14-time defending Big Ten champion No. 9 Wisconsin leads the field, with No. 16 Michigan and No. 24 Indiana rounding out the ranked competitors. Minnesota, along with Illinois, received votes in the latest poll. The Illini have finished ahead of Michigan, Michigan State, Purdue, Ohio State and Minnesota in previous meets this year.

Illini Set to Run
The Big Ten Championship squad consists of nine Illini, four of whom competed at the conference meet last year. Jannis Toepfer, Ian Barnett, Tommy King, and Paul Zeman will be competing in their second conference meet, while Will Brewster, Luke Carroll, Liam Markham, Brendan McDonnell, and Graham Morris are on the Big Ten roster for the first time. Of the nine runners on the Big Ten Championship squad, seven have set new personal-best 8K times this season.

Last Time Out
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team fielded three runners in the Illini Open last weekend, with redshirt freshman Luke Carroll finishing first for the squad and second overall with an 8K time of 24:48. Finishing behind Carroll were teammates Jereme Atchison (25:37) and Ryan Burgoon (25:57), who finished fifth and eighth, respectively.

At the Wisconsin adidas Invitational
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team placed 19th at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational. The Orange and Blue, who faced their toughest competition of the season. They were led by Jannis Toepfer for the third time this season.

Toepfer ran a personal-best 8K time of 23:50, tied for the fourth-fastest in school history, to lead the Illini and place 28th overall. Liam Markham (24:08), Ian Barnett (24:14) and Brendan McDonnell (24:37) also set personal-bests, while Tommy King crossed the finish line with a time of 24:42. Will Brewster clocked a personal-best 24:48, while Paul Zeman also set a new personal-best, finishing with a time of 25:06. Graham Morris rounded out the competition for the Illini, crossing the finish line with a time of 25:43.

Up Next
The Illini will have next weekend off before competing in the NCAA Midwest Regionals on Nov. 15 in Ames, Iowa.