MEET PREVIEW For the second time in history, the Fighting Illini will send two individual runners to the 2011 NCAA Cross Country Championships on Monday, Nov. 21 in Terre Haute, Ind. The last time being 1996 when Barry Pearman and Jason Zieren qualified as individuals.
Senior Jim Riddle automatically qualified for the national meet by leading Illinois at the NCAA Midwest Regoinal and finished 12th overall. Riddle will be joined at the national meet by teammate Jordan Hebert. The junior finished second for the Illini at the regional meet and 17th overall. This will be both runners' first appearance at the championships. This achievement marks the second time in program history the Illini have sent two individual runners to the national championships. Illinois last qualified an individual in 2007 when Trent Hoerrwon the regional title.
COACH KENNEDY ON THE MEET "This is the most significant meet of the year outside of the Big Ten's. Getting two guys to nationals is a step in the right direction for where I want to go as a program. I couldn't be happier, both of these guys deserve it. Jordan and Jim love to race and if they treat it like any other meet, I feel like they could do something special. Each ran a great race at regionals and I look forward to seeing them compete on Monday."
CHAMPIONSHIP FIELD Riddle and Hebert will be competing against participants from 31 teams and 38 individuals that were selected through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection. The team competition includes Big Ten rival and current No. 1 Wisconsin along with No. 2 Oklahoma State, No. 3 BYU, No. 4 Oklahoma and No. 5 Stanford. Among other Midwest Regional individual qualifiers are Cosmas Ayabei of University of Missouri-Kansas City and Jeff Thode of Iowa.
LAST TIME OUT The Orange and Blue took fifth at the NCAA Midwest Regionals with a team total of 157 points. Senior Jim Riddle led all Illini, placing 12th overall with a time of 31:34.79 and automatically qualifying for the NCAA National Championships. Junior Jordan Hebert also qualified for the NCAA National Championships by placing second for the Illini and 17th overall with a 10K time of 31:40.64. Crossing the finish line third for the Orange and Blue was senior Colin Mickow, who timed 32:13.64 with a 33rd place finish overall. Also scoring points for the Illini were seniors Phil Pompei (32:27.35) and Nathan Troester(32:43.17), who finished 43rd and 51st, respectively.
2011 NCAA NATIONAL CHAMPIONSHIPS ROSTER
Jordan Hebert // Junior // Elmhurst, Ill. Placed second for the Illini at the NCAA Midwest Regional and 17th overall, qualifying for the NCAA National Championships with a 10K time of 31:40.64 ... Led the Illini at the Big Ten Championships and took 22nd overall with a personal-best 8K time of 24:26 ... Led the Illini at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, with an 8K time of 24:31 and taking 49th overall ... Competed in the Illini Challenge, finishing with a 6K time of 18:56 and scoring for the Illini, finishing second for the Orange and Blue and third overall.
Jim Riddle // Senior // Naperville, Ill. Led the Illini at the NCAA Midwest Regional and placed 12th overall, automatically qualifying for the NCAA National Championships with a 10K time of 31:34.79 ... Finished 30th overall and took second for Illinois at the Big Ten Championships with an 8K time of 24:32 ... Placed second for the Illini and 82nd overall at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational with an 8K time of 24:43.