Illinois competes at Ohio State

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Illinois competes at Ohio State

Rebecca Craddock runs at the Big Ten Championships at Ohio State on Sunday.

Rebecca Craddock runs at the Big Ten Championships at Ohio State on Sunday.

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Rebecca Craddock runs at the Big Ten Championships at Ohio State on Sunday.

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Rebecca Craddock runs at the Big Ten Championships at Ohio State on Sunday.

By Sports Desk

The No. 19-ranked Illinois women’s cross country team finished sixth in the Big Ten Championships at Ohio State Sunday with a team score of 144. Junior Rebecca Craddock leads the Illini for the second year in a row at the conference championship.

After finishing 12th out of 14 teams at last year’s conference championship with only two runners finishing in the top-50 individually, four of Illinois’ top-five runners cruised to top-30 finishes individually, helping the Illini finish in the top half of the Big Ten.

Sunday, Craddock ran into 18th place individually with a time of 20:50.6, improving on her 43rd-place finish of 21:18.9 at last year’s Championships. Junior Allison McGrath, who finished seconds behind Craddock at the last year’s conference finals, improved her 44th-place finish in 2018 by about 30 seconds. McGrath clinched 22nd-place individually with a time of 20:56.8.

At the beginning of the season, Illinois was ranked No. 20 but moved into the No. 19 spot after finishing every meet this season in at least the top-six as a team. 

“Our men and women are both showing a beautiful progression,” said head coach Sarah Haveman, per fightingillini.com. “Their dedication to our process and each other showed today. For our women, to come back to this meet a year later and go from 12 to tie for fifth is an incredible achievement. We are confident the road ahead looks even brighter and we are excited to continue to build our culture at Illinois.”

After failing to finish the women’s 6K at last year’s Big Ten Championships, sophomore Madison Morasco ran in third for Illinois with a time of 21:08.8 next to fellow-sophomore Emma Milburn who finished at 21:09.8. Marasco and Milburn collected 28th and 29th-place finishes, respectively.  The final Illini to cross the finish line was junior Nikki Cast who ran in at 21:21.4 to place 50th overall.

Illinois competed in a field with eight other top-25-ranked Big Ten teams including No. 7 Wisconsin, No.8 Michigan, No. 9 Michigan State, No. 18 Penn State, No. 21 Ohio State, No. 23 Indiana and No. 25 Minnesota.

The Illini will continue their postseason stint at the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships hosted by Oklahoma State Nov. 15.  The women’s 6k will start at 10:30 a.m.

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