Roberts Closes Out Illini Cross Country Season at NCAA Championships

Roberts Closes Out Illini Cross Country Season at NCAA Championships

CHARLOTTESVILLE, Va. – Illinois cross country senior Jack Roberts finished his season at the NCAA Cross Country Championships on Saturday, Nov. 18. Roberts placed 157th overall with a 10k time of 31:07.4 in his first appearance at the national meet.

He qualified for the NCAA Championships when he placed 10th at the NCAA Midwest Regionals a week ago on a 10k time of 30:27.6. He was the lone Illini to qualify this year and the first man to do so since Jon Davis in 2021.

Prior to the Midwest Regionals he collected Second-Team All-Big Ten honors at the Big Ten Championships in his ninth-place 8k finish (24:38.6).


This concludes Helen Lehman-Winters first season as the Orange and Blue cross country head coach. She coached the men’s team, led by Roberts all year, to their highest finish at the Big Ten Championships (fifth) since 2017. The women’s team eighth-place finish was their highest since 2021.

Lehman-Winters improved nearly every individual that ran at the Big Ten Championships last year in just one season. Roberts himself improved from 32nd to ninth in one season with Lehman-Winters guidance. On average the men improved 35-places and the women improved an impressive 56-places in one year.

Roberts won three races on the year: the Illini Open, Gans Creek Classic and Bradley Pink Classic. The men’s team won two of those races; the Illini Open and Gans Creek Classic. Junior Halle Hill led the women’s team to a 10th-place finish at the Midwest Regionals and earned herself All-Region honors in her 16th-place finish (6k, 21:00.8).


The Illinois distance crew sets their sights to track season now, which begins on with the Illini Open on Saturday, Jan. 6 in the UI Armory.

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