Illinois Qualifies 12 for Finals at Big Ten Indoor Championships
Feb. 28, 2014
GENEVA, Ohio -- The Illinois men's track and field team qualified for tomorrow's finals in six events at the 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships. The Orange & Blue will take a total of 12 spots in the six events, including two in the 60m dash, two in the 60m hurdles, three in the 200m, two in the 400m, two in the 600m and one in the mile.
"We had a great day of qualifying on the track," said head coach Mike Turk. "12 qualifiers for the finals tomorrow is tied for best in the conference. Our guys showed heart and resiliency. Not everything went as planned, but we battled and guys stepped up to give their best performances."
The Illini scored 5.5 points on day one of the conference championships The distance medley relay squad of Luke Carroll, Kenneth Allen, Malik Lee and Liam Markham notched a fourth-place finish, while Blaze Galardy set a big personal-best to tie for eighth in the pole vault.
"What a great, competitive race we ran in the distance medley relay" said Turk. "We asked two freshman (Malik Lee and Kenneth Allen) to forgo competing in their open events to step up on the relay and make a contribution to the team, and they came through big time. Kenneth Allen's 400m leg got us back within reach and Malik Lee's 800m leg got us in contention. Liam Markham ran a smart and competitive mile leg to get us a much needed fourth place, and almost pulled off the big one. It was a great way for us to end the day."
Illinois will be well represented in the 200m as three Illini qualified for tomorrow's finals. Last year's second and third place finishers Brandon Stryagnek and Sephon Pamilton each clocked season-bests to advance to the finals, and will be joined by teammate DJ Zahn. Zahn also competed in the 400m and recorded the fastest time of the day in the event. He and defending Big Ten champion Pamilton move on to tomorrow's final.
In the 60m hurdles, Vanier Joseph ran just under his season-best time to win his heat and qualify for the finals, while Cam Viney clocked a season-best to advance. Defending Big Ten champion Brandon Stryganek ran his fastest 60m time of the season to win his heat and will be joined by teammate Julian Smith in tomorrow's finals. In the 600m Joe McAsey and Zebo Zebe entered their names into the record books on the way to advancing to the finals, as McAsey clocked the sixth-fastest time in school history and Zebo recorded the eighth-fastest. Liam Markham placed second in his heat to qualify for the mile run finals.
The Illini also got strong performances in the 3,000m as Ian Barnett finished ninth with the with the sixth-fastest time in school history, while Will Brewster placed 13th with the 10th-fastest. In the pole vault, Blaze Galardy set a personal-best to score points for Illinois, while Matthew Bane reached a season-best height to place 10th.
"Last year the vault crew carried us through the first day," said Turk. "It's no secret that our vault crew this year has been hit hard with injuries, yet Brandon Carrel and Blaze Galardy got a chance to compete at the conference meet and both stepped up with big personal bests. They really help fire the rest of the team up with their performances."
The Illini will begin the last day of competition tomorrow at 9 a.m. CT tomorrow with the final events of the heptathlon, with running event finals beginning at 11:55 a.m. CT. the triple jump, weight throw and high jump also take place tomorrow.
Big Ten Team Standings (Through five events)
Illinois Friday Results at 2014 Big Ten Indoor Championships
Shot Put (FINAL)
Long Jump (FINAL)
Heptathlon (Through four events)