For the second consecutive year, the Fighting Illini will send two individual runners to the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 17 in Louisville, Ky. Last year, then senior Jim Riddle and Jordan Hebert qualified and competed in the national race, for just the second time in school history a pair of runners had advanced.
Senior Hunter Mickow automatically qualified for the national meet by leading Illinois at the NCAA Midwest Regoinal and finished sixth overall. Mickow will be joined at the national meet by teammate Jannis Topfer. The Bochum, Germany native., finished 13th overall and was second for the Illini. Both Mickow and Topfer earned All-Region honors and will race at national meet for first time in their careers.
COACH STEWART ON THE MEET
"I'm excited for both of them. It looks great for the program to have two guys going for the second consecutive year. Hunter is getting out more aggressively in the race. He doesn't back down to any challenge. He's a tough minded kid and every week he has gotten better. This is Jannis' first year here and cross country is different here in United States than Europe. He was a quick learner, he's training at a high level and has got fit really fast. It will be good to have two of them there together. There will be a sense of familarity."
Mickow and Topfer will be competing against participants from 31 teams and 39 individuals that were selected through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection. The team competition includes No. 1 Oklahoma State along with Big Ten rivals Wisconsin, Michigan, Michigan State and Indiana. Among other Midwest Regional individual qualifiers are Max Storms of Missouri and Brian Dixon of Southern Illinois.
LAST TIME OUT
The Fighting Illini men's cross country team placed fourth out of 29 teams and qualified two for the national championships at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Springfield, Mo. The finish is the highest for the Illini since the 2002 season. Senior Hunter Mickow led Illinois and finished sixth overall, completing the 10K race in 30:29.27 and becoming the highest finisher for the Orange and Blue since Trent Hoerr finished first in 2007. Joining Mickow is teammate Jannis Topfer who finished the course with a time of 30:40.51 and placed 13th overall. Both Mickow and Topfer earn All-Region honors for their finish and will race at the national meet for the first time in their careers.
Crossing the finish line third for the Orange and Blue was senior Jordan Hebert, who timed 31:05 with a 26th place finish overall. Also scoring points for the Illini were redshirt-freshmen Tommy King (31:40) and Ian Barnett (31:42), who finished 54th and 55th, respectively.
2012 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIP ROSTER
Hunter Mickow // Senior // Princeton, Ill.
Paced Illini and finished sixth overall at the NCAA Midwest Regional, completing 10K race in 30:29 and becoming highest finisher for Illinois since 2007 ... Earned All-Region honor for his finish ... In his Big Ten Championships debut, finished 10th overall with an 8K time of 24:07 ... Received second-team All-Big Ten honors ... 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 which ranks fifth fastest in school history.
Jannis Topfer // Senior // Bochum, Germany
Earned All-Region honors after finishing 13th overall at the NCAA Midwest Regional , recording a 10K time of 30:40 ... Finished first for the Illini at the Big Ten Championships with a personal best 8K time of 24:06 ... Received second-team All-Big Ten honors for ninth place finish at Big Ten Championships ... His time at the Big Ten Championships is 10th fastest 8K finish in school history ... 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 ... Has scored
points for the Illini in each race he's competed in this year.