April 19, 2008
LAWRENCE, Kan. - Illinois brought home an event champion and had three athletes post NCAA regional qualifying marks to close out a successful weekend of performances on Saturday at the Kansas Relays. The Illini won the sprint medley relay, while junior Yawusa Kinda, sophomore Dominique Worsley and junior Andrew Zollner all qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships.
"This weekend was very encouraging," head coach Wayne Angel said. "As each week goes by, we are making incremental improvements as the guys get fitter and times start to drop. I'm very pleased with our performances and regional qualifiers. We are really looking forward to the Drake Relays and getting some more NCAA regional marks."
The Illini sprint medley relay (200m, 200m, 400m, 800m) of Kinda, freshman Dan Jones, freshman Eugene Ellis and sophomore Brian Beaird took first place and clocked a time of 3 minutes 28.62 seconds. Seton Hall finished second in the race with a time of 3:29.33.
Zollner had the best performance of his career in the pole vault, earning an NCAA regional mark with a height of 17 feet, 0 ¾ inches. Competing in the special invitational section of the event, Zollner finished eighth overall. The junior competed at the NCAA Championships in the pole vault last season.
After narrowly missing the NCAA regional standard in the 400m in two consecutive meets, Kinda finally qualified on Saturday with an Illinois personal-best time of 46.96 to finish third overall in the race. Worsley continued to lower his time in the 100m, running a season-fastest 10.50 to improve his regional mark and place fourth in finals.
Despite running without sophomore Brandon Gray, the Illini 4x400m relay managed to finish third overall. Running with two freshmen and two transfers, junior Gary Miller, Kinda, Ellis and Jones timed 3:10.74 after running the top time in Friday's prelims.
Senior Nick Brown was third in the long jump in his first meet in the event of the season with a distance of 23'8". Miller also placed seventh in the 400m hurdles with a time of 53.42.
Illinois heads to Des Moines, Iowa next week for the Drake Relays running Wednesday, April 23 through Saturday, April 26.