Senior Graham Morris broke the Illinois school record in the mile, becoming the first Illini to break into top-10 list in the event since 1995.
Jan. 25, 2013
Bloomington, Ind. -- The Illini men's track and field team performed well on Friday at the Indiana Relays, highlighted by the school record performance by senior Graham Morris in the mile and multiple personal bests. Returning All-American Brandon Stryganek and senior Malcolm Taylor also notched first place victories for the Orange and Blue in the Gladstein Fieldhouse.
"I'm really happy with our performances today," head coach Mike Turk said. "We had a school record and several personal bests. The team responded well to the challenges presented to them. Grahams race was outstanding. He has been working towards the goal of breaking the four minute mile and to have that performance of a school record in his first mile of the season is pretty special."
In just his second meet as an Illini, Morris broke the school mile record on Friday night with a time of 4:00.47. The time takes the top spot in the record books by just .09 seconds, as he passes Len Sitko who recorded a time of 4:00.56 in 1991. Morris is the first Illini to even break into the programs top-10 list in the event since the 1995 season.
"For Graham to step on the track for his first mile of the year and run 4:00 is the ultimate confidence booster for him," assistant coach Jake Stewart said. "It's exciting for Graham to start at this point, now we have to go back and continue to look for ways to improve. A school record is a great accomplishment for him. I couldn't be happier."
The Illini also found success in the hurdle group as all three qualified for tomorrow's finals. Vanier Joseph opened up the season with a time of 7.97 which was second fastest on the day and ranks eighth-best in school history. Teammate Cameron Viney also advanced, finishing with a time of 8.10 while sophomore Gary Ford will also compete in the finals after he qualified with a time of 8.37.
"Our times in the sprint and hurdle prelims weren't real fast but guys were winning heats and advancing to tomorrows races so the mission was accomplished," Turk said.
The 200m crew of Brandon Stryganek and Stephon Pamilton were dominate in their performances. After winning the event crown last weekend, Stryganek earned his second straight crown, finishing first with a time of 21.44. Stephon Pamilton opened his season in the event, finishing runner-up with a time of 21.46.
The Illini won another event title as senior Malcolm Taylor took first in the 600m, setting a new personal best time of 1:19.65. Two others competed in the 600m invitational races as Juan-Paul Green finished fourth with a time of 1:20.35 and Zebo Zebe placed fifth with a time of 1:20.73. Three Illini competed in the 3,000m as senior Hunter Mickow (8:23.65) and freshman Tommy King (8:33.80) ran in the invitational race and Sam Telfer (8:44.21) ran in the collegiate section.
"Malcolm ran the best race I've seen him run in winning the 600m," Turk said. "He looked confident and aggressive in putting up a personal best."
Sophomore Branden Tanthavong jumped a personal-best mark of 15.12m to place third at the meet while freshman Mitch Mammoser finished runner-up in the pole vault, jumping a height of 4.85m. Senior Brett Einbecker also competed on Friday, finishing the weight throw in 10th place with a mark of 15.98m.
"Branden had a new personal best in the triple jump," Turk said. "He is starting to come around. It's nice to see him step up. He can make a very valuable contribution to the jumps."
The Illini are back on the track tomorrow as competition begins at 9:35 a.m and concludes with the 4x400m relay starting at 4:15 p.m.