Illinois races under pressure at Buckeye Preview

By Ivy Flores, Contributing Writer

The women’s cross-country team traveled to Ohio State this weekend to compete in the Buckeye Preview on the school’s home course in Columbus, Ohio. Illinois raced among nationally ranked teams including No. 7 Michigan, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 16 Penn State and many other non-ranked programs. 

With only two more meets until the Big Ten Championship, racing against ranked competition gives the Illini practice under pressure. Prior to the Big Ten Championship on Nov. 3, Illinois will return to Indiana State, where the team raced a week ago in Terre Haute, Indiana, to run on the NCAA Championship course for “Pre-Nationals,” according to fightingillini.com. This weekend, however, Illinois took down their ranked foes, placing second with a score of 61 points behind Michigan, who took the lead with 41 points.

Junior Rebecca Craddock once again led the Illini for a second-place finish at the Buckeye Preview, finishing with a personal best of 20:37.3, which is also the sixth-fastest 6K time in history for the Buckeye Preview meet.

Next to cross the finish line behind Craddock was freshman Emma Wilson, who finished 12th in her first collegiate 6K with a time of 21:15.4. Sophomore Emma Milburn followed suit, placing 13th overall and finishing with a time of 21:18:0. Milburn has also set personal bests in the previous two meets.

Sophomore Madison Marasco ran in at 16th place with a time of 21:21.1. She was the fourth team member to cross for Illinois. The final scorer for the Illini was junior Alison McGraft, who finished with a time of 21:30.7 at 18th place overall.

Junior Niki Cast finished sixth for Illinois with a time of 21:46.4 in 26th place, while freshman Olivia Howell rounded out Illinois’ top-seven with a time of 22:00.1, placing 34th overall. Sophomore Caroline Fix also finished with a time of 22:01.7, and sophomore Lauren Katz finished with a time of 22:05.4 behind her. Freshman Katie Hohe finished in 46th place with a time of 22:13.8, while junior Katie Stapleton ran into 54th place with a time of 22:18.1. Sophomore Mikaela Lucki rounded out the race for the Illini, finishing in 70th place overall with a time of 22:38.1.

Next up, Illinois will begin preparing for the Bradley Pink Classic on Oct. 18 in Peoria and Pre-Nationals on Oct. 19 at Indiana State’s course in Terre Haute. 

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