Men’s cross-country wraps up regular season at the Illini Open

Lining+up+before+the+race+begins%2C+runners+Joe+Crowlin%2C+Garrett+Lee%2C+Luke+Brahm%2C+and+Caleb+Hummer+wait+for+the+gunshot+at+the+Illini+Open+on+Oct.+21.
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Men’s cross-country wraps up regular season at the Illini Open

Lining up before the race begins, runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm, and Caleb Hummer wait for the gunshot at the Illini Open on Oct. 21.

Lining up before the race begins, runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm, and Caleb Hummer wait for the gunshot at the Illini Open on Oct. 21.

Alyssa Knights

Lining up before the race begins, runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm, and Caleb Hummer wait for the gunshot at the Illini Open on Oct. 21.

Alyssa Knights

Alyssa Knights

Lining up before the race begins, runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm, and Caleb Hummer wait for the gunshot at the Illini Open on Oct. 21.

By Tatiania Perry, Contributing writer

When the starting gun went off at the Illini Open on Friday, junior Garret Lee immediately took the lead. He maintained that pace for the Illinois men’s cross-country team for two laps.

However, near the end of his final lap, Lee slipped into second behind the unattached Daniel Gagne.

“I put it all on the line and came up a little short,” Lee said. “I probably could have run a little more conservatively in the middle of the race, but overall, I’m pretty happy.”

Lee finished with a time of 25:48.0. Two more of his teammates finished within the top ten: Junior Joe Cowlin finished in third with 25:55.4, and senior Luke Brahm finished in eighth with 26:06.8.

Though these three performed well, the Illini didn’t race enough men to qualify for a team score. Instead, Illinois State clinched the win with just 35 points.

The Illini were represented by a few unattached runners — mostly redshirt freshmen — with two placing in the top ten. Freshman Jack Lalonde finished in fifth with 25:57.5, and sophomore Luke Schroer placed  sixth with 25:58.7.

“It’s just a fun race to be in and get a chance to compete one last time this season,” Lee said. “I think overall, everyone was happy with how they raced and was good for the freshmen to get a chance to run in front of their friends and family.”

Next up for the Illini are the Big Ten Championships held in Minneapolis, Minnesota, on Oct. 30. The team will be visiting the Les Bolstad Course for the second time this season. In late September, the Illini competed in the Roy Griak Invite taking home a tenth-place finish. This time around the weather conditions should be more favorable for the runners, partly sunny, but much cooler in the 50s.

Though the Big Tens are a big deal, the team likes to keep the same mindset as every other race.

“Before every race, the main thing coach asks us to do is compete our heart out and put it all on the line,” Lee said.

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