Jan. 10, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's track and field team will take to the track again this weekend, competing Saturday, Jan. 12 at the Indiana Open in Bloomington, Ind. Running events kick off at 10:30 a.m. CT, with the field events beginning at 11 a.m. Illinois will face off in a field that includes athletes from Indiana, Indiana Tech, Louisville and Northern Kentucky.
"We're looking for intensity, progress and a high level of esprit de corps this weekend," Illinois head coach Wayne Angel said. "Everyone returned from holiday break relatively fit. It's very important that we continue to build on the foundation we established in the fall as we move toward the championship phase of our season."
Freshmen Eugene Ellis and Dan Jones finished in second and third, respectively in the 400 meters at the Indiana high school state meet in 2007. Each will run their first meet for Illinois on Saturday, Ellis competing in the 600m and Jones in the 400m.
Also donning an Illinois uniform for the first time will be junior Maxwell Mkwezalamba, a transfer from Illinois State. A Champaign Central High School graduate, Mkwezalamba was a Missouri Valley Champion in the 200m.
"We're a program with many newcomers and seasoned veterans to lead the way," Angel said. "We'll be doing a lot of evaluating Saturday as we continue to transition into the type of program I think we are capable of."
Other highlighted Illini competing include 2006 Big Ten Indoor Freshmen of the Year Dominique Worsley in the 200 meters and junior Andrew Zollner, who qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships last season in the pole vault.
Sophomore Brian Beaird will run the mile, coming off of a win in the event at the Saluki Fast Start Invitational on Dec. 7, and 2007 NCAA Mideast Regional qualifier Greg Shroka will compete in the high jump for the first time this year.
The Illini will return to Bloomington, Ind. next weekend for the SEC vs. Big Ten Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 19. Illinois then hosts the Carle/Health Alliance Invitational at the UI Armory on Saturday, Jan. 26.