Big Ten Cross Country Championships Set for This Weekend

The Big Ten Cross Country Championships will be held this Sunday in Urbana, Ill.

The Big Ten Cross Country Championships will be held this Sunday in Urbana, Ill.

Oct. 27, 2011

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All 11 conference men's cross country teams descend upon the University of Illinois Arboretum in Urbana, Ill., for the 2011 Big Ten Championships. The teams will compete in the 8,000-meter race at 10:45 a.m. CT.

Wisconsin enters the championships with the highest ranking of any Big Ten team, checking in at No. 2 nationally. The Badgers have won a Big Ten-record 12 consecutive conference titles dating back to 1999 and are seeking their 45th overall crown. Wisconsin returns five of its six scorers from a year ago, including top-15 performers and All-Big Ten honorees Mohammed Ahmed (fourth), Elliot Krause (fifth), Maverick Darling (sixth) and Reed Connor (12th).

Indiana also enters the conference meet as a top-10 team nationally, standing at No. 7 entering the weekend. All three of the Hoosiers' top-20 finishers return for this year's championships as first team all-conference performer Andy Bayer finished second, second-team honoree Zach Mayhew took 11th and Ben Hubers placed 15th.

Minnesota is ranked 12th in the country heading into the championships and returns four runners from last year's championships roster. Two-time Big Ten Athlete of the Year Hassan Mead also returns to the Gopher lineup after missing last season's race due to injury. Pieter Gagnon is Minnesota's top returning finisher, taking 17th in 2010.

Michigan, ranked 21st in the country, boasts two top-10 performers from last season's meet in Bobby Aprill (seventh) and Craig Forys (10th). Ohio State also holds a top-30 national ranking, checking in at No. 26. Jake Edwards, the Buckeyes' top performer from a season ago, returns after taking 22nd in the 2010 championships.

Illinois returns all six of its runners from last season's race, while Iowa is led by 2010 All-Big Ten honoree Jeff Thode. Michigan State welcomes back its top finisher from a season ago in Ben Miller (16th), while Nebraska enters its first Big Ten Championships as a member of the conference. Penn State returns two all-conference performers in Kyle Dawson and Vince McNally, while Purdue boasts seven runners on its roster who competed in last season's meet.