Nov. 22, 2013
NCAAs Preview | Coach Stewart Interview
NCAA National Cross Country Championships
Saturday, Nov. 23 (11 a.m. CT) - 10K Race
LaVern Gibson Championship Cross Country Course // Terre Haute, Ind.
Jannis Toepfer will represent the Fighting Illini at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 23 in Terre Haute, Ind. This marks the third consecutive year that at least one individual on the squad has qualified for the national meet. Last year, Toepfer and teammate Hunter Mickow competed in the NCAA Championships in Louisville, Ky.
Toepfer automatically qualified for the national meet by placing third at the NCAA Midwest Regionals. The Bochum, Germany native led the Illini and earned All-Region honors.
Coach Stewart on the Meet
"Jannis has been consistent in every race he's been in," Stewart said. "He's competed at a very high level against some very good athletes, and in each instance he's been more than competitive. Last Friday he had an opportunity to win the race and he was competing against guys who have done some big things, both in cross country and track and field. I'm not surprised that Jannis made it to nationals. His season has shown that he's a very consistent and very solid cross country runner."
"After the race last year, his immediate comment was that he was surprised at the intensity and how fast the race was," Stewart said. "As much as you talk about it and try to prepare for that going into the race, it's very tough to replicate. Him going into Saturday having one national meet behind him will go a very long way."
Toepfer will compete against participants from 31 teams and 38 individuals that were selected through an automatic qualifier and at-large selection. The team competition includes No. 1 Northern Arizona and last year's champion No. 2 Oklahoma State, as well as Big Ten opponents No. 13 Michigan, No. 17 Wisconsin and No. 20 Indiana. Other Midwest Region individual qualifiers are Trent Lusignan of South Dakota State, Iowa State's Mohamed Hrezi, and Reid Buchanan of Kansas.
Last Time Out
The Illinois men's cross country team finished in seventh place at the 2013 NCAA Midwest Regional Championships on Friday, scoring 198 points. Jannis Toepfer qualified for the NCAA Championships for the second straight year after a third place finish, the highest finish for an Illini since Trent Hoerr won the individual crown in 2007. The Bochum, Germany native finished just three seconds behind Regional Champion Chris O'Hare (30:28), and shaved nine seconds off of his time from last year's regional meet to clock a time of 30:31.
Ian Barnett finished second for the Illini and trimmed 35 seconds off of his 10K time to clock a personal-best 31:07. The redshirt-sophomore placed 28th, just three spots away from earning All-Region honors. Sophomore Liam Markham crossed the finish line with a time of 31:28 in the first 10K race of his career, finishing 52nd overall and third for the squad. Redshirt-freshman Will Brewster (31:42) and junior Brendan McDonnell (31:43) finished 63rd and 64th, respectively, to round out scoring for the Illini.
2013 NCAA National Championships Roster
Jannis Toepfer // Graduate Student // Bochum, Germany
Earned All-Region honors after finishing third at the NCAA Midwest Regional with a 10K time of 30:31 ... Placed sixth at the Big Ten Championships to earn first-team All-Big Ten honors ... Has led the squad in every meet he's competed in this season ... Won the Illini Challenge with a personal-best 6K time of 18:58 ... Placed sixth at the Notre Dame Invitational ... Clocked a personal-best 8K time of 23:50 at the Wisconsin adidas Invitational, which is tied for the fourth-fastest 8K time in school history.