Seven Titles Won at Illini Open
Jan. 12, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois men's track and field team turned in solid early season performances on Saturday at the Illini Open and won a total of seven event titles at the UI Armory. Junior Cody Klein and freshman Com Viney both posted times which rank in Illinois' all-time performance list. The Orange and Blue will be back in action next weekend when they host the Illini Classic beginning next Friday.
"Overall, we had a decent day, " head coach Mike Turk said. "There were a couple of great performances, especially for this early and solid debuts by some of our newcomers. We are off to a good start. This team can be really good but we have a long way to go. We have to continue to work hard."
In his first meet as an Illini, Viney won the 60m hurdles and participated in the third-place 4x400m relay team. The Morgantown, W.V., native won the 60m hurdles with a time of 7.94 and recorded a time of 3:21.57 in the relay. Viney's time is the fifth-fastest in school history. Newcomer Julian Smith won the 200m title, crossing the finish line with a time of 22.05.
"I am very pleased by the performances of several of our newcomers on the track, including Cam Viney," Turk said. "He kind of stole the show today with his win in the hurdles in an excellent time. He was outstanding especially considering this was his first time ever racing over the college highs. He really made a statement. Julian Smith showed great focus and competitiveness in winning the 200m. I'm excited to see him race again next week along with Brandon Stryganek."
The Illini found success in the 600m as newcomer Juan-Paul Green took the title with a time of 1:20.70. Green was one of three Orange and Blue runners to finish in the top three as Malcolm Taylor placed second (1:21.25) and Stephon Pamilton (1:21.79) third. The Illini have won the 600m at the Illini Open for the past two consecutive seasons. Junior Ryan Lynn started his indoor season well as he bumped up an event and won the mile with a time of 4:16.29.
"Juan-Paul Green had a nice debut," Turk said. "He ran a very smart race in winning the 600m and did a fantastic job leading off our 4x400m relay. He really showed a lot of composure for a freshman."
In addition, the Illini did well in the field events winning two titles, including the pole vault and the shot put. Klein notched the seventh-best height in school history with his mark of 17-4 1/2 (5.30m) while teammate Matt Bane finished third in the event with a height of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m). Sophomore Brandon Noe took home the shot put crown with a mark of 53-6 1/2 (16.32m) while Brett Einbecker finished runner-up in the event with a throw of 52-5 1/2 (15.99m).
"As I expected, the pole vault was an exciting event for us, " Turk said. "What a great way to start the season for the vault crew, especially for Cody Klein. He looked great and competed at a very high level today. Matt Bane, Josh Hodur and Mitch Mammoser who competed unattached were all outstanding. Any given day we can have multiple guys step up in the vault, like today."
"Brandon Noe had a good day in the shot," Turk said. "That was his first career win as an Illini and I expect we'll see more from Brandon as the year progresses."
Illinois' 4x400m relay squad of Green, DJ Zahn, Pamilton and Taylor combined for a time of 3:17.84 to conclude the meet with a final victory for the Orange and Blue.
"Next week's Illini Classic will be a tougher test," Turk said. "We will have everyone out competing with an eye on progressing and stepping up our performances. We want to put on a good show for a big home meet."
Next weekend the Orange and Blue will return to the UI Armory as they host the Illini Classic on Jan. 18-19. The Illini will compete against Lincoln (MO), Marquette, SIU-Edwardsville, SIU-Carbondale and Western Illinois. The Classic will begin at 4 p.m. with the women's pentathlon and 4:30 for the men's heptathlon.