Illini Qualify Nine for Finals at Big Ten's
Feb. 22, 2013
Geneva, Ohio -- The Fighting Illini men's track and field team qualified nine for tomorrow's finals at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The pole vault crew was one of many to highlight the first day, after three Orange and Blue vaulters scored team points. The Illini sit in fourth place with a total of 20.50 points.
The pole vault crew scored 16.50 total points on Friday as three Illini athletes scored. Matthew Bane led the squad, after he placed second with a mark of 17-3 1/2 (5.27m) while junior Cody Klein finished third with a mark of 17-1 1/2 (5.22m). Also scoring for the team was Josh Hodur who placed sixth with a mark of 16-9 1/2 (5.12m).
"We had a great day one and are positioned well as a team for the finals," head coach Mike Turk said. "The vault is among the toughest events in the conference. It's a deep event with great competitors. For us to score three guys is awesome. I am so proud of these guys and coach Carrel has done a great job preparing them. They really got us on the board in a big way."
Sophomore Stryganek set the fastest qualifying times in both the 60m and 200m. He turned in a time of 6.73 which is a new personal best and ties the third fastest mark in school history. In the 200m, Stryganek qualified for tomorrow's finals with a time of 21.02 which is second best in the school record books. Joining Stryganek in the finals is junior Stephon Pamilton after he ran a time of 21.06, the third fastest in Illinois history.
Pamilton was one of two guys to advance to the finals in the 400m as the Bourbonnais, Ill., native turned in a time of 46.53 which was the fastest qualifying time of the day. Teammate Juan Paul Green also moved into the finals, finishing with at time of 47.19. In the hurdles, junior Vanier Joseph was another Illini who notched the fastest time of the day with an automatic mark of 7.74 while freshman Cam Viney also advanced with a time of 7.89, the seventh best time. Senior Malcolm Taylor finished the 600m with a new personal best time of 1:18.09 to qualify for the finals tomorrow.
"Brandon Stryganek leads the 60m and 200m," Turk said. "He is on his game. Stephon Pamilton leads the 400m and is second in the 200m. He is a man on a mission. Joseph Vanier leads the hurdles and Cam Viney is in there too. Juan Paul Green stepped up to win his heat and qualify in the 400m as well. Of all the qualifiers, Malcolm Taylor really stepped up for us. He ran a huge personal best on the 600m to qualify. Great to see for the senior."
In the distance races, senior Graham Morris continued his success as he advanced to the finals of the mile. Morris set a time of 4:03.76 while redshirt-freshman Tommy King won the unseeded 3,000m race with a new lifetime best time of 8:17.08.
The distance medley relay squad of freshman Luke Carroll, sophomore DJ Zahn, junior Zebo Zebe and senior Kyle Engnell gave the Orange and Blue four team points with their fifth place finish and a time of 9:42.63, the sixth fastest mark in Illinois history.
"The DMR was really exciting and we performed well," Turk said. "I can't say enough about how well those four guys competed. Kyle Engnell is our unsung hero. He's a fifth year senior and we brought him here just to anchor that relay. He sacrificed all personal goals for the team and came through with a huge personal best on the anchor leg. It was quite impressive."
After four events completed in the heptathlon, senior Steve Monte sits at fourth place with 3,190 points while sophomore Corey Hammon is directly behind at fifth with a total of 3,077 points. Monte set personal bests in every event, while Corey set career bests in two of the four events.
"The guys in the heptathlon were on fire today," Turk said. "Both are on pace to shatter the school record. Steve Monte set a new personal best in all four events today and Corey Hammon is right behind him."
The Illini will begin the last day of competition tomorrow as the final events of the heptathlon start things off beginning at 9 am.
Big Ten Team Standings (Through five events)
Illinois Friday Results at Big Ten Indoor Championships
60m Hurdles (Preliminaries)
3,000m unseeded (FINAL)
Pole Vault (FINAL)