Men’s cross country place fifth at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invite

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Men’s cross country place fifth at the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invite

Illinois' Alex Notten (209), freshman, outpaces his opponents at the Illini Open 2014 at the Arborteum on October 25th.

Illinois' Alex Notten (209), freshman, outpaces his opponents at the Illini Open 2014 at the Arborteum on October 25th.

Sonny An | Senior photographer

Illinois' Alex Notten (209), freshman, outpaces his opponents at the Illini Open 2014 at the Arborteum on October 25th.

Sonny An | Senior photographer

Sonny An | Senior photographer

Illinois' Alex Notten (209), freshman, outpaces his opponents at the Illini Open 2014 at the Arborteum on October 25th.

By Tatiania Perry, Contributing writer

The Illinois men’s cross-country team finished the Joe Piane Notre Dame Invitational in fifth with an overall team score of 183.

With that score, they beat four nationally ranked teams including Washington State (189), Texas (323), Florida State (400) and North Carolina (571).

“It was a nice bounce back,” head coach Jake Stewart said. “Our guys performed with pretty good poise.”

Four Illini runners placed in the top-50 overall. Senior Sean Pengelly ran his fastest time as an Illini  24 minutes, 25.2 seconds — good for the 43rd best time.

Sophomore Jesse Reiser and senior Dylan Lafond finished 30th and 31st within less than a second of one another (Reiser: 24:15.1 and Lafond 24:15.9).

Stewart, though happy about the progress of the team, didn’t want to highlight the times on this particular flat course because it was vastly different from last week’s muddy hilly course.

“It’s more about being competitive,” Stewart said. “Our first eight guys finished ahead of everyone else’s top eight.”

Freshman Jon Davis secured the top Illini finish, placing 27th with a time of 24:13.0. He too ran his fastest documented time.

With the team being so young, Stewart is excited for the next two remaining meets before the postseason begins.

“In this sport every race is different,” Stewart said. “Jon bounced back nicely after a disappointing performance last week and Jesse continues to stay consistent. I know he has more in him.”

There were also notable performances by sophomore Dan Lathrop (24:33.1), junior Alex Gold (24:33.9) and sophomore Zach Smith (24:35.6).

Next week, the Illini will be traveling to the Ed Nuttycombe Wisconsin Invite in Madison, Wisconsin.

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