Jan. 17, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's track and field team will face its toughest competition to date in competing at the Big Ten/SEC Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 19 in Bloomington, Ind. beginning at 10 a.m. CT. The meet marks the second weekend in a row the Illinois have competed in Indiana, after running in the Indiana Open last Saturday. Highlighting the field is No. 3 Tennessee and No. 4 Florida, marking the first nationally-ranked teams the Illini have faced this season.
"We're very excited about the opportunity to compete against the SEC schools," head coach Wayne Angel said. "Florida and Tennessee have very strong track and field traditions, while Kentucky has an outstanding 4x400m relay. We must come prepared to compete at a higher level on Saturday, as I see this meet as a key stepping stone to the Big Ten Championships."
Illini star Gakologelwang Masheto, who was recently selected as a member of the 2008 Botswana Olympic Team, will return to the track in running the 400m. Masheto won the 600m at the Saluki Fast Start Invitational on Dec. 7 in a time of 1:18.97, but was off from competition last weekend. Also competing in the 400 meters is Illinois newcomer Yawusa Kinda, a transfer from Kansas City Community College who took second in the 400m at the 2007 NJCAA Outdoor Championships.
Senior All-American Nick Brown will see his first action of the season in the long jump, which he took ninth in at the 2006 NCAA Indoor Championships.
Junior Gary Miller will run the 800m for the first time in 2008 after winning the 600m at the Indiana Open, while sophomore Dominique Worsley will also be going for his second victory of the season, after winning the 200m last weekend.
"We will have many of our top guns competing this weekend," Angel said. "It's important that we take advantage of this great opportunity. We hope to obtain many personal bests as well as some NCAA qualifying marks."
Next up for Illinois is hosting the annual Carle/Health Alliance Invitational with the Illini women's track and field team at the UI Armory next Saturday, Jan. 26, beginning at 9 a.m.