Reiser finishes first; Illini shine at Beantown


Daily Illini File Photo

Lining up before the race begins, runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm, and Caleb Hummer stand ready to run the Illini Open at the Arboretum on Oct. 21, 2016.

By Jared Farmer, Contributing writer

Illinois men’s cross-country finished second behind No. 3 Syracuse while the women’s team took 13th.

Junior Jesse Reiser had the top time for the Illini in the 2017 Coast-to-Coast Battle in Beantown 8,000-meter race Friday, finishing with a time of 24:12. Sophomore Jon Davis finished one second behind Reiser, securing the top two spots for the Illini.

Going No. 1 and No. 2 in the race was beneficial for the team, currently ranked 27th, who scored 56 points en route to a second-place finish behind No. 3 Syracuse with 35 points and beating No. 21 ranked Indiana with 106 points.

The women’s team, led by freshman Rebecca Craddock, — who finished 29th in the 5,000-meter race with a time of 17:53 — finished in 13th with Providence winning overall with 71 points. Illinois finished with 362.

This race bodes well for both teams, who came back from their trip with their heads held high and their team chemistry bolstered.

“I thought the trip was awesome,” Reiser said. “The guys all ran well, including the women’s team, so this was definitely a huge confidence booster for us. Hopefully we can carry this on for the rest of the season.”

After leaving on Thursday for the race, both the men’s and women’s teams had little time to get familiar with the course in Franklin Park, but the teams adjusted well.

“I really liked it,” Craddock said. “There was a lot of different surfaces, like it went from grass to gravel to dirt paths, and there was a big hill where you could catch people and sprint down, so I really liked that.”

Despite the competition, the team felt confident and ready to race.

“The strategy going into the race was just for us to chill as long as possible, and if we were feeling good after three miles, then we should try to take it,” Reiser said.

It showed on Friday, as they proved they could race with two of the best teams in the country.

“It’s a huge confidence booster for our guys,” Reiser said. “Finishing 20 points off the No. 3 team in the country isn’t something we should take for granted.”