Senior Andrew Riley won his fourth consecutive 60m hurdles title (7.62) and his first 60m title (6.62) at the Big Ten Championships.
Feb. 25, 2012
LINCOLN, Neb. - Senior Andrew Riley won Big Ten titles in the 60m and the 60m hurdles on Saturday at the Big Ten Championships. The Kingston, Jamaica native won the 60m hurdles for the fourth consecutive year and his first 60m dash title to score a total of 20 points. As a team, Illinois totaled 49 points and placed seventh overall in a loaded field featuring five teams ranked in the USTFCCCA national poll.
"We had some guys step up big today," head coach Mike Turk said. "It was great to see. A couple seniors and a few freshmen came up huge. They definitely showed the whole team how to compete and what is possible."
Riley's victory gave the Illini their first Big Ten champion of the weekend after he recorded the fastest 60m time in school history with a time of 6.62 to earn his first conference crown in the event. Freshman Brandon Stryganek notched the eighth fastest time in school history as he finished third and scored the Orange and Blue six points. Stryganek also placed runner-up in the 200m with a career-best time of 21.43 while freshman DJ Zahn scored two points for the team after he finished seventh with a time of 21.78.
"Riley once against broke the 60m record," Turk said. "Winning the 60m for the first time meant a lot to him and I am so happy for him. He was dominate in both events. "Stryganek surprised everyone except the coaching staff. He just had an amazing performance. Zahn was tough and finished well in the 200."
Illinois' second Big Ten title came from Riley in the 60m hurdles after the senior crossed the finish line with a time of 7.62. He is the first Illini runner to earn four consecutive titles in an event since Charleton Ehizuelen did so in the long and triple jump from 1974-77. Senior Cody Wisslead tied his highest finish at the indoor conference meet, placing runner-up in the event with a personal-time of 7.89 to give the Illini eight team points.
"It was a great way for Wisslead to go out as it was the fifth year senior's last collegiate meet," Turk said. "He inspired a bunch of guys today."
Another freshman in Joe McAsey gave the Illini two team points when he set another personal record in the 800m with a time of 1:49.64 and placed seventh.
"McAsey was a warrior this weekend," Turk said. "Two sub 1:50 races and leading off our distance medley relay is quite a work load. He's very tough and so competitive."
The Illini were just out of point contention in the 4x400m relay when the squad of Zahn, Wisslead, McAsey and sophomore Ryan Lynn placed ninth with a time of 3:13.24. Freshman Corey Hammon set a personal-best 5,099 points in the heptathlon and senior Steve Monte scored 5,042 in the event. In the field events, Brett Ramirez set a personal-best mark of 59-8 (18.16m) in the weight throw and placed 15th.
"It's nice to see the seniors going out big and get a glimpse of the future with the young guys," Turk said. "I love their fire and competitiveness. I think this was a step forward for our program. We need more people to ste up but I can see it coming."
As a team, Illinois finished in seventh place, while Indiana won the meet with 104 points. Minnesota was runner up with 100 points while Nebraska finished third with 99 points, followed by Ohio State in fourth (94.33) and Wisconsin placed fifth with 75 points.
Illinois Saturday Results at Big Ten Indoor Championships
7. Joe McAsey (1:49.64) - 2 team points
High Jump (FINAL)
13. Ryan Michel 6-7 ½ (2.02m)
Triple Jump (FINAL)
13. Branden Tanthavong 47-7 (14.50m)
Weight Throw (FINAL)
15. Brett Ramirez 59-8 (18.16m)
Big Ten Men's Indoor Championships Final Team Standings
1. Indiana - 104
2. Minnesota - 100
3. Nebraska - 99
4. Ohio State - 94.33
5. Wisconsin - 75
6. Penn State - 51.33
7. Illinois - 49
8. Iowa - 45
9. Michigan State - 32.33
10. Michigan - 30
11. Purdue - 21