Male runners finish in disappointing sixth place at Big Tens

By Laura Hettiger

The Illinois men’s cross country team competed in the annual Big Ten Championships at the Ohio State University on Sunday and came home disappointed.

After finishing sixth in the 10-team race, the Illini feel they are a stronger team than the standings showed.

“Overall we are disappointed with our finish,” head coach Wendel McRaven said in a press release. “We think that we are a better team than our performance today. It is nice to progress from last year, but we have set the bar high for this season and did not execute our plan today.”

Although the team did not finish the way it originally hoped, senior Trent Hoerr set another record for the struggling Illini.

Claiming third place in the entire field with a time of 23 minutes, 49 seconds, Hoerr received First Team All-Big Ten Conference honors.

McRaven was pleased with Hoerr’s performance, confirming the senior’s presence in the Big Ten Conference and in the country.

This is the first time an Illini has received first team all-conference recognition since John Kronforst in 2001, several years before McRaven and Hoerr both came to Illinois.

Sophomore Jeremy Stevens came in second for the Orange and Blue, and 24th overall with an 8K time of 24:34. Fellow sophomore Jacob Nachel rounded out the top three Illini finishers with a time of 24:40, placing him 28th in the overall meet standings.

“It was nice to see Jeremy step up for us today,” McRaven said. “Overall we needed to see a better job from our two through five runners.”

With several nationally ranked teams in the Big Ten Conference, No. 6 Wisconsin easily earned the conference’s top team honors with 33 points on the day. No. 22 Minnesota was a distant second, scoring 65 points. Host team Ohio State captured third place with 91 points.

The Illini will take two weeks off to regroup from the meet before their final regular season competition.

Their hiatus will be spent training for the NCAA Midwest Regional competition held at Bradley University in Peoria, Ill., on Nov. 10.