Jan. 24, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illini men's track and field team won six events and blew out the competition at the Carle/Health Alliance Invitational on Saturday, taking the team title in the only home indoor meet of the year at the UI Armory.
The Orange and Blue scored 195.5 points to take handily take first, followed by No. 20 Georgia (142), Southern Illinois (110), Lincoln (78), Western Kentucky (48.5) and Loyola (34).
"Overall we had a solid team performance with six first-place finishes," Illini head coach Wayne Angel said. "We had a number of personal-bests, but the most important thing was that we came together as a team and scored in a lot of events. We have some work to do in some areas, but for the most part we did very well."
A ceremony honoring former Illini head men's track and field coaches Robert Wright (1966-1974) and Gary Wieneke (1975-2003) took place following the 60m hurdles trials. Both coaches were enshrined for their accomplishments while at the University of Illinois with plaques to be hung at the UI Armory. Former Illini greats Lee LaBadie and Craig Virgin were on hand to speak in honor of both Wright and Wieneke.
Andrew Riley was the Illini's standout performer on Saturday, winning the high jump with a mark of 6-6 3/4. The freshman from Jamaica was more impressive in the 60m hurdles, however, as he took second with a personal-best time of 8.08 that ranks ninth in Illini history. Riley has shown steady improvement in the hurdles since arriving on the Illinois campus a few weeks ago, timing 8.38 at the Iowa Dual, 8.13 at the Kentucky Invitational and 8.08 on Saturday.
Sophomore Cody Wisslead ran well for the Illini in the 60m hurdles as well, timing a personal-best 8.20 and placing third. Georgia All-American Justin Gaymon took first in the race with a time of 7.86, while Illini freshmen Nic Haab (fifth, 8.67) and Shawn Ledbetter (sixth, 8.68) also competed in the event final.
The Illini cruised to titles in the middle distances, as junior Gary Miller took the 600m in a time of 1:21.20 to win his third individual title this indoor season. Junior Scott Phelps then won the 800m in a time of 1:54.52.
The Orange and Blue swept the top three spots in the 3,000m with a trio of freshman. Colin Mickow was first in a time of 8:36.15, finishing just of his twin brother Hunter Mickow who was second in 8:36.30. Jim Riddle placed third running 8:40.71, while freshman Nathan Troester took fifth (8:41.74).
Junior Azeez Shogbuyi won the long jump for the second time this season, just missing his personal-best with a winning mark of 22-10 1/2. Freshman Graham Farnsworth rounded out Illinois' event-winners, taking the 1,000m in a time of 2:32.00.
Junior Casey Fonnesbeck had his top shot put performance of the season, taking second with a mark of 55-6 1/2 (16.93m). Freshman Matt Eader was fourth in the shot put with a personal-best throw of 54-2 3/4.
In the mile, Illinois took the second through fourth positions, led by junior Jacob Nachel finishing runner-up in a time of 4:17.18. Sophomore Jeremy Stevens was third in 4:17.56, while freshman Chris DeSilva took fourth (4:20.12).
The first heat of the 400m was a race to watch as Georgia standout Torrin Lawrence, who has the top 200m time in the country, took first in a time of 46.84. Gaymon was second in 47.69, while Masheto took fifth overall (48.46).
Wisslead placed third in the 200m (22.66), while Illinois had three athletes run personal-bests in the 60m trials in Shogbuyi (6.96), freshman Stanley Azie (7.01) and Riley (7.03). Shogbuyi was the Illini's top finisher, taking fifth in the final with a time of 7.01.
The Illini will head to Lincoln, Neb. next week to compete in the Adidas Classic on Saturday, Jan 31 beginning at 11 a.m.