Illini Win Five Event Titles at Tiger Track Classic
April 5, 2014
AUBURN, Ala. -- The University of Illinois men's track and field team competed at the Tiger Track Classic this weekend, where three Illini won event titles. The Illini notched 18 top-five finishes, while six Illini set new personal bests in their events. Vanier Joseph and Cam Viney recorded top finishes, while Jannis Toepfer captured two event titles.
"I am very pleased with the results," said head coach Mike Turk. "We performed at a very high level across the board with outstanding early season marks. Sometimes when we get good weather early in the year, guys raise expectations too high. We seized this opportunity and made the most of it. I think we accomplished a lot and are well ahead of where we were at this time last year. It's satisfying to come down into SEC country and come home with a bunch of top finishes."
Vanier Joseph continued his success in the 110m hurdles, winning the event with a season-best time of 13.84. Cam Viney also clocked a season-best time of 14.16 to place third, while Kenneth Allen (14.49) took sixth. In the 100m dash, Julian Smith ran a time of 10.64 to place third. The Illini finished two-three in the 400m, with DJ Zahn clocking a personal best time of 46.77 to place second. Reigning Big Ten champion Stephon Pamilton placed third with a time of 47.07, while Kenneth Allen (47.70) took sixth. Cam Viney won the 400m hurdles for the second straight week, clocking a season-best time of 50.93, while David Kendziera (53.07) took sixth.
"Our hurdlers were dominant, especially Cam Viney," said Turk. "Cam probably had the most dominant performance in the meet. He looks like he's ready to step up on a national level this year."
Joe McAsey led a group of four Illini in the 800m, placing second with a time of 1:50.40, while Zebo Zebe took sixth with a time of 1:51.82. The Illini finished one-two in the 3,000m steeplechase, led by Jannis Toepfer. Toepfer clocked a time of 8:59.99 to win the event, followed by Graham Morris (9:24.12) in second. Toepfer also won the 5,000m on Friday with a time of 13:59.17, the sixth-fastest time in school history. Jordan Hebert took third in the event with a personal best time of 14:12.29. The Illini also got strong performances from both relay teams, as the 4x400m squad placed first. The 4x100m relay team placed second, but clocked the fastest collegiate time in the event.
"Overall we were great on the track," said Turk. "Jannis Toepfer was dominant. I'm really pleased with the work we have put in for both relays. The relays really show the quality depth we have in the program."
Branden Tanthavong set a huge personal best in the triple jump, placing second with a mark of 15.25m. Ben Dodds continued his success in the javelin, placing second with a mark of 60.55m, while Brandon Noe took second in the discus with a mark of 54.50. Noe also competed in the shot put and finished fifth with a mark of 16.14m, while Blaze Galardy (5.05m) set a huge personal-best to take fifth in the pole vault.
"I was so happy for Branden Tanthavong and his performance in the triple jump," said Turk. "He was our field event performer of the meet. He's worked very hard for a long time to get that PR and it was a huge breakthrough for him. Brandon Noe had an outstanding day in the discus, probably his best series of throws ever. Blaze Galardy also continues to step up for us in the pole vault."
The Illini return to Champaign next weekend for the Illinois Twilight on Saturday, April 12. The meet will take place at the Illinois Track and Soccer Stadium, and marks the first time the Illini will host an outdoor meet since 2009.
Illinois Top-Five Finishes
400m Hurdles 1. Cam Viney, 50.93