Jan. 31, 2009
LINCOLN, Neb. - The Fighting Illini men's track and field team had a strong showing at the adidas Classic on Saturday, winning four events competing against elite competition at Nebraska's Bob Devaney Sports Center.
Senior All-American Gakologelwang Masheto took second in the 400m and ran a season-best time by 0.01 seconds, timing 47.06 to hit the NCAA provisional qualifying mark in the event for the second time this year. His previous season-best was 47.07. Nebraska's Lukas Hulett won the race on his home track in an impressive time of 46.75. Sophomore Dan Jones also ran a strong 400m, taking fourth in a season-best time of 48.97.
The Illini took first in the 4x400m relay, as the squad of freshman Hendrik Maartens, Jones, junior Gary Miller and Masheto won with a time of 3:12.03 and edged out Nebraska, which finished second in a time of 3:12.12.
"Sometimes when you compete in a meet of this caliber, athletes tend to lose their focus and composure if they aren't mentally tough, but I didn't see any of that today," head coach Wayne Angel said. "We took control of the things we could control and the things we had no control over we dealt with accordingly. From the beginning we showed great team enthusiasm and spirit, and I'm pleased because we had a lot of quality and competitive performances."
Miller was also an individual event-winner for the fourth time this season, winning the 800m with a season-best time of 1:52.29. Junior Brian Beaird was fifth in the race with a time of 1:54.63.
Freshman Graham Farnsworth had a pair of solid performances in the middle distances, winning the 1,000m for the second-straight week with a time of 2:31.19 and finishing third in the mile with a time of 4:12.58 that is the fastest on the team so far this season. Junior Garrett Weaver also ran both events, taking second in the 1,000m (2:31.44) and seventh in the mile (4:17.33).
In the distance events, freshman Nathan Troester won the 5,000m with a time of 14:53.20, while freshman Colin Mickow was third (15:03). Sophomore Jeremy Stevens took seventh in the 3,000m with a time of 8:28.69 and was followed closely by freshman Hunter Mickow in eighth (8:30.69).
Sophomore Cody Wisslead ran a personal-best in the 60m hurdles final, timing 8.19 to tie for seventh.
Top performers on the field include junior Casey Fonnesbeck taking fourth in the shot put with a distance of 54-4 1/2 and senior Andrew Zollner placing sixth in the pole vault with a height of 16-0 3/4.
Competing at the Wisconsin Elite Invitational in Madison, Wis., freshman Andrew Riley was leading the heptathlon after day one, finishing first in the 60m (6.91) and high jump (6-8). Riley did not finish the competition after being pulled due to a minor injury.