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Illini Prepare for Stacked Ed Nuttycombe Invite

Lining+up+before+the+race+begins%2C+Illinois+runners+Joe+Crowlin%2C+Garrett+Lee%2C+Luke+Brahm+and+Caleb+Hummer+stand+ready+to+run+as+soon+as+the+gunshot+goes+off+on+Oct.+21%2C+2016.
Lining up before the race begins, Illinois runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm and Caleb Hummer stand ready to run as soon as the gunshot goes off on Oct. 21, 2016.

Lining up before the race begins, Illinois runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm and Caleb Hummer stand ready to run as soon as the gunshot goes off on Oct. 21, 2016.

The Daily Illini File Photo

The Daily Illini File Photo

Lining up before the race begins, Illinois runners Joe Crowlin, Garrett Lee, Luke Brahm and Caleb Hummer stand ready to run as soon as the gunshot goes off on Oct. 21, 2016.

By Jared Farmer, Staff writer

Fresh off a week off from competition, the Illinois cross country team will be heading up to Madison, Wisconsin, for the ninth annual Ed Nuttycombe Invite.

The event — set for Friday, Oct. 13 — will be one of the more competitive meets for both the men and women’s teams so far and may be one of the most competitive meets in the country.

Of the 35 teams facing off on the men’s side, 16 of those teams are ranked in the top 30, including the No. 16 Illini who have moved up in the rankings for the past two weeks. They will be racing against teams such No. 1 ranked Northern Arizona, No. 3 Syracuse, No. 4 Stanford, No. 6 Southern Utah, No. 10 Furman, No. 11 Colorado State and a plethora of other competitive programs.

Of those teams, the Illini have already competed with Northern Arizona, Furman, and Boise State in the Greater Louisville Classic. They have also competed against Syracuse at the Beantown Battle in Boston three weeks ago. Now leading the Big Ten conference, the Illini are feeling confident going into this Friday.

After recording the fourth-fastest 8K time for Illinois back at Louisville, sophomore Jon Davis plans on continuing to race with the same strategy.

“(At Louisville) I know I personally went out way faster than I normally do, so I can apply what I learned there to this weekend, which is going to be more competitive,” Davis said. “We’re going to try to go out more conservative, then work those last two miles, and hopefully we’ll see ourselves in improve.”

The women’s team will face deep competition as well. Of the 33 women’s teams competing, 14 of those teams are ranked, headlined by No. 3 ranked New Mexico, No. 5 Stanford, No. 6 San Francisco, No. 7 North Carolina State and No. 8 Providence.

The women’s team will be competing in their first 6K race of the season. After recording five personal records at the Greater Louisville Classic two weeks ago, the Illini are going in looking to compete, despite not being used to running the extra 1,000 meters.

“I’m probably going to go out a little bit more conservative because I’m not sure what to expect,” said freshman Rebecca Craddock. “I don’t think our overall racing strategy is going to change, but I think we’re going to be more careful, just because it’s an extra kilometer.”

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