Illini Turn in Five Season Bests on Armory Invite Day 1
Feb. 1, 2013
New York, N.Y. -- The Illini men's track and field team turned in five season best performances on Friday at the Armory Collegiate Invitational. The squad also advanced three runners to the finals of their respective events at the meet.
"We had some ups and downs but overall we had a pretty good day," head coach Mike Turk said. "We are growing and learning as we go. For the most part it was real positive."
Junior Stephon Pamilton and freshman Juan Paul Green both ran personal bests in the 400m on Friday to advance to tomorrow's final. Pamilton qualified with a time of 47.20 while Green was close behind with a time of 47.25. Sophomore Brandon Stryganek also performed well, making it to the 60m final with a qualifying time of 6.79. In the finals, the All-American ran a time of 6.85 to finish 14th overall.
"I was especially pleased with the 400m prelims as both Juan and Stephon ran personal bests and made the final," Turk said. "They both stepped up to the level of competition and are poised well for tomorrow's final. Brandon also had a good first day. He ran a season best in the 60 to make the finals in a very good sprint field. He came back with a good run in the finals. He is running consistently better and is way ahead of where he was last year."
A pair of Illini athletes competed in the 500m as senior Malcolm Taylor and junior Zebo Zebe performed well an event which isn't too familiar to the Orange and Blue squad. Taylor finished sixth overall with a time of 1:03.79 while Zebo placed 10th with a time of 1:04.17.
"The 500 is a weird event for us because we never run it," Turk said. "We used it to get Zebo and Malcolm in a faster race than their usual 600 or 800s. Both guys showed their strength with very strong finishes. We need to continue to work on the speed development side to finish off preparations for the Big Ten Championships."
Both Illini hurdlers, junior Vanier Joseph and freshman Cam Viney also qualified for the finals in the 60m hurdles. The two notched times of 7.83 and 7.90, respectively to advance to the finals. After three restarts, Joseph finished 10th with a time of 7.98 while Viney finished 14th with a time of 8.30.
"Vanier and Cam looked terrific in the hurdle prelims," Turk said. "Vanier won his heat and both guys easily qualified for the final. They struggled a bit in the final. There were three recall starts and I think they got a little frustrated. They'll learn and get better from it."
"Brandon struggled in the shot," Turk said. "It just wasn't his day. I'm a little surprised because he has been so consistent this season and I know he is ready for a personal best. The mark doesn't reflect it but Davis showed a lot of improvement today. He's coming back from illness that kept him out for five weeks. He was aggressive and looked much more confident. He's getting stronger every day and I believe he can make a leap forward in the next couple weeks."
Sophomore Corey Hammon was the lone Illini to compete in the long jump at the Armory on Friday. Hammon finished with a mark of 20-8 (6.30m). He also ran in the 400m college division and set a personal best time of 49.29.
"Corey had a rough day in the long jump," Turk said. "He just never got adjusted to the bouncy runway. He did come back with a personal best in the college division of the 400. I'm glad he took advantage of the opportunity to run here."
The Illini will continue action tomorrow at both the Armory Collegiate Invitational and Meyo Invitational.