STATE COLLEGE, Pa. – No Illinois runner had raced on Penn State's hilly cross-country course before Saturday's Big Ten meet.
The men's team finished eighth and the women's team placed 10th at the Penn State Blue and White Golf Courses. The Illini have two weeks to regroup before the NCAA Midwest Regional Championships in Savoy.
Junior Mike Lucchesi led the men with a 27th-place finish in 26 minutes, 26.32 seconds. The UI's customary lead runner, Scott McClennan, was 32nd in 26:32.75.
McClennan, who led the UI in eight consecutive meets, now has finished in the second spot two races in a row.
Senior Tara Mendozza paced the women with a 21st-place finish in 17:58.16. Freshman Cecilia Williams was 29th.
Wisconsin swept both meets.