Men’s cross-country to learn from weekend performance

By Tatiania Perry, Contributing writer

Facing its biggest competition at the top ranked Ed Nuttycombe Invite in Madison, Wisconsin, the Illinois men’s cross-country team finished 27th with 615 points.

Northern Arizona won the Invite with 78 points, while Standford and BYU finished second and third, respectively.

Senior Dylan Lafond finished first for the Illini at 24 minutes and 59 seconds, placing 96th overall. Senior Sean Pengelly followed Lafond, crossing the finish line in 117th place.

“Yesterday was a good opportunity for all of us collectively to take a step back and really reevaluate mentally,” head coach Jake Stewart said. “I think everyone on this team knows how good we can be and what we are capable of.”

In the open race that proceeded the invite five Illinois runners competed, sophomore Billy Magnesen finished in 19th place and was the top Illinois finisher.

“It was a step forward for Bill; he’s still piecing together a complete race, and yesterday got him a little bit closer,” Stewart said. “I think it was a tougher day for the guys in that first race with the weather and some of the conditions they had to face, but I think Bill handled those in a way that he can be satisfied with yesterday moving forward.”

The Illini will compete at their home course on Friday in their last regular season meet.

“It’ll be a good opportunity for the group that aren’t projected to compete at the Big Ten meets to have a kind of a cap to their season,” Stewart said.  “It’s their only opportunity to race at home this year so that’ll be nice for those guys to wake up and kind of go through their day knowing that they can race on their home course.”

Stewart said that consistency is key for his runners moving forward.

“We have to be consistent with our plan,” Stewart said. “I don’t want to change drastically what we are doing I don’t think that would be beneficial to anyone right now.”

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