Illini place ninth at NCAA Midwest Regional
November 23, 2019
The Illinois men’s cross country team’s season has come to an end after six meets in 2019.
The Illini’s last competition was at the NCAA Midwest Regional playoff meet on Nov. 15, where they placed ninth overall, but it wasn’t enough to qualify for the NCAA Championships.
The men’s team was last represented at the championships meet in 2017 when senior Jon Davis qualified as an individual. But the team hasn’t been able to break through since 2016, where it placed 23rd overall.
In the final rankings of the season, the men ranked ninth in the Midwest Region, according to the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association.
This season was a big success for redshirt sophomore Irwin Loud, who received Midwest All-Region Honors after placing 16th at the Regional postseason meet.
USTFCCCA Midwest Region Female Coach of the Year, head coach Sarah Haveman praised Loud for his work this season and expressed how optimistic she is for the men’s team in the future.
“Irwin became a great front runner for us,” Haveman said. “We look to improve to get better. As a whole, we need everybody to step up and continue to evolve as an athlete. I believe we are on the right path to do that.”
“I really couldn’t be prouder of how they carried themselves and how they allowed themselves to evolve,” Haveman said. “Also, how they ultimately believe in what we are doing and know that by doing it the right way, they will get a taste the success and be on the right trajectory to do great things every year.”
The men’s team graduates two seniors, Zach Dale and Jessie Reiser, who ran their final cross-country race after competing for five seasons with Illinois.
With the addition of the seven new freshman runners added to the team, the team coming together to focus is truly memorable, according to Haveman.
“We brought in a very large freshman class,” Haveman said. “We had some fragmented pieces from past history, and just seeing them come together through adversity was something I am very proud of as a coach. I know they feel very good about it as well.”