Senior Jim Riddle and the Illini concluded the Tiger Track Classic on Saturday, with four Orange and Blue athletes winning titles.
April 6, 2013
AUBURN, Ala. -- The Illinois men's track and field team wrapped up competition at Auburn's Tiger Track Classic and recorded four victories at the meet. Senior Ryan Lynn, redshirt-freshman Ian Barnett, senior Jannis Topfer and the 4x400m relay squad won their respective events on Saturday.
"This was a great meet for us," head coach Mike Turk said. "Although we still have a lot of improvement to make to prepare for Big Tens, we took several big strides forward this weekend. It was nice to have everyone out there from ech event group in their main events. The meet was especially productive for us on the track in the 400 and up. It was a relief to come to the warm weather and perform so well after the horrible weather we've had for training the past several weeks. I was concerned about it."
Junior Ryan Lynn won his second 800m title of the outdoor season. Ryan finished the race with a season best time of 1:49.07 while teammate Zebo Zebe turned in a time of 1:50.78 to place fourth overall in the race.
"Ryan was dominant in the 800 and he made it look easy," Turk said. "That is a good time for this early in the season and we always like to win races. I'm encouraged by the confidence he has now."
The Illini were also successful in the distance races as senior Jannis Topfer took the 3,000m steeplechase crown in a time of 8:54.48 which is the ninth fastest in school history. In the 5,000m, the Orange and Blue had five runners finish in the top-seven. Redshirt-freshman Ian Barnett won the race with a time of 13.58.79 which ranks fifth best in school history. It's the first time an Illini distance runner has cracked the school's top-10 list in the event since 2007.
"The 5k was a lot of fun for us," Turk said. "Auburn was great in working with us to set up a quality race in the best conditions we could. It really paid off for us. I think Ian, Jim Riddle, Hebert and king all ran personal bests and Ian broke into our all time top ten list. He was so strong. Coming off an injury in cross country, I think this race showed the talent Ian has for running onnthe track, that he is healthy and ready to run. It was a big breakthrough for him."
In the hurdles, freshman Cameron Viney had a successful Saturday as he placed seventh overall in the 110m hurdles with a time of 14.27 which is a career and season best for the hurdler. He then notched another career best time in the 400m hurdles, crossing the finish line in a time of 52.47 for a fifth place finish.
Sophomore Brandon Stryganek notched season-bests in both the 100m and 200m. Stryganek finished the 100m with a time of 10.55 to place sixth overall and crossed the line third in the 200m with a time of 20.84. Junior Julian Smith also ran a season best time in the 200m with a mark of 21.21.
"Brandon finally had his breakthrough in the 200 running a sub 21 for the first time", Turk said. "He ran a very complete race. He was good out of the blocks and executed his race plan well. I think he is right on track this season to do big things."
All three Orange and Blue runners posted career-bests on the track today. Junior Stephon Pamilton ran his best 400m time this season as he finished second in the event with a time of 46.43, which is just outside Illinois' top-ten. Freshman Juan Paul Green also competed well in the event, finishing right behind Pamilton with a lifetime-best time of 46.39 to place third.
The 4x100m relay squad of Joseph, Stryganek, DJ Zahn and Smith finished fourth with a time of 40.72 while the 4x400m quartet of Zahn, Viney, Green and Pamilton recorded a 10 second season best time of 3:07.10 to win the meet.
In the field events, Matthew Bane and Cody Klein tied for second in the pole vault with a season best mark of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m) while senior Steve Monte also highlighted the day, throwing the fourth farthest javelin throw in school history, 203-7 (62.05m).
"Once again Cody and Matt were on it," Turk said. "If we can just keep progressing over the next couple of weeks, I know they can hit some big jumps. It's taken some time and a lot of work but Steve has figured out how to get ability to produce great performances he is just more mature and relaxed. He has come a long way since his freshman year. I love that he has set very lofty goals and is focused on achieving them. He will be hard to replace next year."
Next weekend, the team will compete at the Lee Calhoun Invitational, hosted by Western Illinois on Saturday, April 13.
Illinois Results from Tiger Track Classic
1. DJ Zahn, Viney, Green, Pamilton 3:07.10
5. Cameron Viney 52.47
1. Jannis Topfer 8:54.48
Hammer Throw (INVITE)
9. Brett Ramirez 186-08 (56.91m)
7. Davis Fraker 55-6 1/2 (16.93m)