Men’s cross-county heads to Minnesota for Big Ten Championships

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.
Back to Article
Back to Article

Men’s cross-county heads to Minnesota for Big Ten Championships

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

The Illinois men’s cross-country team will revisit a Minneapolis course Sunday for the Big Ten Championships.

The Illini competed in the Roy Griak Invitational last September, taking 10th place out of 29 teams.

“This year, it’s a much more challenging course,” head coach Jake Stewart said. “We saw it on its worse day a month ago, (and now we come back) to see it on a better day knowing we have to prepare to run that course.”

Sophomore Zach Smith knows that this course consistently rolls, meaning the runners are either going uphill or downhill throughout the race.

Getting to know the course better as opposed to just mapping the layout like they did for last year’s course helped with the Illini’s confidence as well.

“Each guy took something away knowing, ‘okay we will be back here in a month or so,’ it’s a really big thing for us,” Smith said. “I’m glad we did it. I know it’s making a lot of guys more confident coming into this race, so that’s going to help us a lot.”

Illinois is coming off placing three runners in the top-10 at the Illini Open last weekend.

Stewart has reiterated to his runners that they are more than their worst race.

“That’s the great thing about this sport; you can only be as good as your teammates and yourself push you to be,” Smith said. “I know we are ready for performing great as a team because of how far we have pushed each other as a team.”

Though this is a championship meet, Stewart said it doesn’t change the team’s strategy.

“I think our message is just try to take advantage of the opportunity to go to a championship race and run, really well,” Stewart said. “We have a very good group of guys we can’t take for granted.”

[email protected]

@tati_perry14