Men come out on top, claim state ‘Braggin’ Rights’

By Laura Hettiger

Jared Richardson got his wish.

The sophomore on the men’s cross country team wanted to prove the Fighting Illini were the best team in the state. Friday night, Richardson and his teammates claimed state “Braggin’ Rights” after capturing the Intercollegiate Championship title in Normal, Ill.

Twenty-two teams from around the state competed in the 8K race with the Illini taking first with a team score of 39. Rend Lake Community College finished second with 53 team points, and rounding out the top three was the host school, Illinois State, with 66 overall points.

“We ran a good, solid race,” said head coach Wendel McRaven in a press release. “The guys ran conservatively and controlled. I think that as the race went on, we built up well and closed it out strongly in the last mile.”

Not only did the Illini win the meet, Trent Hoerr finished first among all the racers. The senior from Morton, Ill., completed the race in a personal best time of 23 minutes, 54 seconds. Hoerr’s time put him at third on the Illinois all-time 8K distance leaderboard, allowing him to surpass former Illini All-Americans Kerry Dickson and Mike Patton.

McRaven was pleased with Hoerr’s effort and feels the senior has the “potential to do some special things” this season. The coach also believes his hard work is paying off and expects more from Hoerr as the season develops.

Aside from Hoerr, sophomore Jacob Nachel ran a personal best time of 24:32 to finish fifth while senior Mike Kelley came in 10th with a time of 25:05. Another personal best time of 25:13 by junior Tim Maier placed him 11th overall in the competition.

Rounding out the top five Illini finishers was Richardson with a time of 25:14 to place him 12th.

The Intercollegiate Meet – also known as the “Braggin’ Rights” – was a popular competition and a state favorite during the 1970s and 1980s. Friday’s meet was its first running in 21 years, but after the Illini’s successful showing, the team hopes it will continue for many seasons to come.

Just as Richardson predicted the two days before the meet, the “Braggin’ Rights” is one of the first accomplishments the team would gain this season. The Orange and Blue also captured their own “Illini Challenge” title two weeks prior to the Intercollegiate Meet.

The Illini’s next test will come in 11 days when the team travels to Notre Dame for the Irish’s 52nd annual invitational on Sept. 28.