March 23, 2009
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Each winter, two weeks prior to spring break, the Illinois football team launches a strength and conditioning championship, which brings out the competitive juices in eight early morning workout sessions, otherwise known as 6 am¹s. The entire team is divided into eight squads, which then compete in a round-robin format to determine the regular season winners and what two teams will vie for the coveted Illini Winter Conditioning Championship. On Friday, March 20, Illinois co-defensive coordinator Dan Disch
led his team over rookie Keith Gilmore¹s squad for the title.
In the final day of competition, Disch's squad of Jon Asamoah, Randall Hunt, Antonio James, Eddie Viliunas, Evan Frierson, Mikel LeShoure, Nate Bussey, Jeff Cumberland and Mark Burgess, slightly edged Gilmore's team by a score of 5-4. The tight battle included Gilmore's team of Craig Wilson, Graham Pocic, Rahkeem Smith, Michael Hoomanawanui, Nate Palmer, Daniel Dufrene, Bo Flowers, A.J. Jenkins and Sean Anderson.
Prior to the championship, the Most Valuable Players were named. Safety Bussey and tight end Hoomanawanui went undefeated at 8-0 and guard Asamoah finished 7-1. Other head-to-head competitions had Curt Mallory's squad defeating Mike Schultz' team 4-3-1 for third place; Jim Pry's group defeated Joe Gilbert's squad 5-2-2 for fifth; and Kurt Beathard's team edged Mike Woodford's group, 4-3-1 for seventh (see teams below).
#1 seed-Team 1 (Disch) defeated #2 seed-Team 3 (Gilmore) -- 5-4
#3 seed-Team 2 (Mallory) defeated #4-seed Team 6 (Schultz) -- 4-3-1
Team 2: Anterio Jackson, Doug Pilcher, Clay Nurse, Hubie Graham, Dustin Jefferson, Martez Wilson, Garrett Edwards, Chris Duvalt, Dane Lundeen. -- Team 6: Jack Cornell, Tyler Sands, Whitney Mercilus, Mike Cklamovski, Russell Ellington, Supo Sanni, Tavon Wilson, Arrelious Benn, Matt Eller.
#6 seed-Team 4 (Pry) defeated #5-seed Team 8 (Gilbert) -- 5-2-2
Team 4: Jeff Allen, Corey Lewis, Jerry Brown, London Davis, Justin Staples, Jason Ford, Jack Ramsey, Jarred Fayson, Zak Pedersen. -- Team 8: Mike Garrity, Ryan Palmer, Ugo Uzodinma, Tad Keely, Juice Williams, Nattiel Perkins, Chris James, Eddie McGee, Anthony Santella.
#7 seed- Team 7 (Beathard) defeated #8-seed Team 5 (Woody) -- 4-3-1
Team 7: Ryan Sedlacek, Reggie Ellis, Wisdom Onyegbule, Zach Becker, Aaron Gress, Kevin Johnson, Travon Bellamy, Antonio Gully, Derek Dimke. -- Team 5: Eric Block, Corey Liuget, Glenn Foster, Jacob Charest, Ian Thomas, Troy Pollard, Ashante Williams, Fred Sykes, Kyle Yelton.