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IU cross-country’s redshirt runners finish their season at Illini Open

<p>Then-freshman, now sophomore, Marcus Ellington, runs in the Big Ten Cross-Country Championships on Oct. 29 at the IU Cross-Country course. Ellington contributed to IU's second-place finish Friday at the Illini Open.&nbsp;</p>

Then-freshman, now sophomore, Marcus Ellington, runs in the Big Ten Cross-Country Championships on Oct. 29 at the IU Cross-Country course. Ellington contributed to IU's second-place finish Friday at the Illini Open. 

As IU’s top cross country runners prepare for the Big Ten Championship meet, the rest of the roster competed Friday in the Illini Open in Urbana, Illinois.

Many young, inexperienced runners ran their last cross-country race of the season for the Hoosiers. Only nine athletes from the men’s and women’s teams can take part in the Big Ten Championship meet on Oct. 28.

The rest of the team competed Friday.

“I thought they did a nice job,” IU Coach Ron Helmer said. “It’s a fairly diverse group of people who all basically ran really good at the front.” 

The men’s team featured 11 runners, including six unattached redshirt athletes, and took second place in the meet with 39 points. Bradley University finished one point ahead of IU to take first place. 

Freshman Keelan Grant was the first IU runner to cross the finish line and took second place. Freshman Matthew Schadler and graduate student Kenneth Hagen followed in third and fourth place. 

Freshmen Colin Murphy and Jackson Jett, and sophomore Teddy Browning rounded out the top-10 finishers for the men’s team as they crossed the line in seventh, eighth and 10th place.

“If you look at Keelan and Matt Schadler, they’ve been running really really well,” Helmer said. “I think with those two, I was really happy with the steps they took forward and he composure they ran with.” 

Freshmen Ben Miller, Matthew Yoder, Jake Gebhardt, and Aaron Bennett and sophomore Marcus Ellington rounded out the field for the men’s team. 

Hagen, Browning, Bennett and Ellington’s scores contributed to the team’s second-place finish. 

The women’s team failed to acquire a team score as the team ran only four runners, all of them freshmen. Josey Korte was the only athlete in uniform, while Jenna Barker, Abi Little and Ana Barrott ran unattached. 

The Hoosiers ran as a pack and finished within nine seconds of each other to take third through sixth places. Barker was the first to cross the finish line, followed by Little, Korte, then Barrott. 

"The only one we had in uniform was Josey Korte. She was right up there for most of the way, but got passed right at the end by a couple of our own redshirts," Helmer said. "Where she’s been fading pretty badly at the end of races, she did a good job of staying in there and finishing it up.” 

Helmer said IU's runners from Friday should feel extremely optimistic as they head into the indoor track season. 

“They just need to all know that they’ve done a lot of work and that work doesn’t go away,” Helmer said. “They need to take the positives from cross-country, latch on to those and take those forward. All they’ve done is open more doors that will lead to more success.” 

The Hoosiers will compete in the Big Ten Championship meet next week on Oct. 28 in Lincoln, Nebraska. The women’s team is ranked second in the Big Ten Conference while the men's team is ranked fourth.

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