Seven Illini Win Event Titles in Outdoor Opener
March 29, 2014
LOUISVILLE, Ky. -- The University of Illinois men's track and field team began the outdoor season this weekend at the Lenny Lyles/Clark Wood Invitational. Eight Illini won event titles, while four set personal-best marks in their events. Vanier Joseph and Ben Dodds also set new meet records en route to first-place finishes.
"It was a real good day for us today," said head coach Mike Turk. "Obviously the weather conditions were not conducive to top performances on paper, but I was very pleased with the way our guys went about their business and got some good performances. On days like this it's important to give a good competitive effort and not worry about the time distances."
Illinois took four out of the top-five spots in the 100m dash, including first-place finisher Brandon Stryganek. Stryganek clocked a 10.71 in the finals to place first, followed by DJ Zahn (10.82), Stephon Pamilton (10.91) and Julian Smith (10.93) in third, fourth an fifth. Zahn and Pamilton each set new personal-bests in the preliminary round, with Zahn clocking a 10.57 and Pamilton finishing in 10.90. Vanier Joseph set a new meet record in the 110m hurdles, placing first with a time of 13.98. Cam Viney finished next for the Illini, clocking a 14.32 to place third, while Corey Hammon set a personal best time of 15.22 to place sixth. Viney also competed in the 400m hurdles and placed first with a time of 52.32.
Joe McAsey took the 800m title with a time of 1:55.01, while Liam Markham (1:55.84) placed fourth. Illinois had a strong showing in the 1,500m as five Illini claimed spots in the top-10, including first-place finisher Graham Morris. In his season debut, Morris won the event with a time of 3:53.66, while Malik Lee (3:54.25) took second. Jordan Hebert (3:56.54) placed seventh, while Jannis Toepfer (3:57.39) and Ian Barnett (3:59.82) finished ninth and 10th, respectively. Illinois competed in the 4x100m relay for the first time this season, with the squad of Julian Smith, Brandon Stryganek, Stephon Pamilton and DJ Zahn placing first with a time of 41.00. Kenneth Allen notched a second-place finish in the 200m with a time of 21.99, while the 4x400m relay team of Cam Viney, David Kendziera, Joe McAsey and Zebo Zebe took second with a time of 3:19.14.
"I was very pleased with the 4x100 relay," said Turk. "We are way ahead of where we were this time last year. We have been able to get a little relay work done earlier this year and that will really pay off for us at the end of the year. It was a nice day for Vanier Joseph with a meet record in the hurdles. DJ Zahn picked up right where he left off indoors and had a really good day as well. He was outstanding in the 4x100 relay had a big PR in the prelims of the 100 meter dash."
Ben Dodds and Branden Tanthavong highlighted the field events for Illinois, with Dodds placing first in the javelin and Tanthavong winning the triple jump. Dodds set a new meet record of 61.75m, while Tanthavong set a huge personal-best mark of 14.96m. Three other Illini also competed in the javelin, as Aaron Wilks (58.45m) placed second in his Illini debut, while Corey Hammon (42.69m) and George Wayda (39.60m) placed fifth and seventh, respectively. Ryan Michel placed second in the high jump in his season debut with a mark of 1.90m, while David Kendziera (6.74m) and Corey Hammon (6.37m) placed third and fifth in the high jump, respectively. Illinois notched three top-five finished in the pole vault as Cody Klein (4.91m) placed third, while Blaze Galardy and Brandon Carrel tied for fourth-place with a mark of 4.76m.
"Ben Dodds had the performance of the day in the field events, no question about it," said Turk. "I am really happy for him that he was able to open up such a good performance today. He has worked very hard in the off-season and has waited a long time to get his first meet under his belt for this year."
The Illini will be back in action next weekend when they travel to Auburn, Ala. or the Tiger Track Classic on April 4-5.
Illinois First-Place Finishers
100m - Brandon Stryganek, 10.71
110m hurdles - Vanier Joseph, 13.98
400m hurdles- Cam Viney, 52.32
800m - Joe McAsey, 1:55.01
1,500m - Graham Morris, 3:53.66
Triple Jump - Branden Tanthavong, 14.96m
Javelin - Ben Dodds, 61.75m