Illinois Places Second at Tom Botts Invitational
April 9, 2011
COLUMBIA, Mo. - The Illinois men's track and field team racked up 148 points and placed second behind host Missouri (164) at the Tom Botts Invitational on Saturday. The Illini won a pair of individual event titles, as freshman Shujaa Benson leapt to the long jump crown in his outdoor debut and senior Cody Wisslead grabbed first in the 400m hurdles, along with posting five runner-up finishes at Audrey J. Walton Stadium.
"The weather was really nice for this meet and our guys really took advantage of that," interim head coach Mike Turk said. "We had quite a few PRs and several solid performances to take second even without some of our key guys competing. We are slowly getting back to full strength and improving with each weekend."
Benson bounded to a mark of 23-5 ¼ (7.14m) to take the spot in the long jump while Wisslead timed 51.23 in the 400m hurdles to earn the victory in his first hurdle race of the outdoor campaign. Junior Stanley Azie accounted for 16 team points with a pair of second-place showings, running a personal-best mark of 10.53 in the 100m and a season-best time of 21.17 in the 200m.
"Cody looked tremendous and ran faster today than he did all of last year up until the Big Ten meet," Turk said. "Shujaa also had a nice opener in the long jump to win the event."
In the 400m, senior Shane Daniel broke 48 seconds for the first time at Illinois and took second in the race with a career-best mark of 47.98. Daniel tallied 10 points as the top collegian in the event and notched four more points in the 200m with a personal-best time of 21.80. Fellow senior Dan Jones came in third in his outdoor 400m opener with a time of 48.22 to pick up eight more team points.
The 4x400m relay squad of Daniel, freshman Zebo Zebe, Wisslead and Dan Jones placed second with a season-best time of 3:13.63 while freshman Matthew Bane posted the Orange and Blue's final second-place finish after clearing 16-7 ¾ (5.06m) in the pole vault. Three other Illini scored in the pole vault with junior Alex Baldwin in fourth at 16-1 ¼ (4.91m), sophomore Joshua Hodur tied for fifth at 15-7 ¼ (4.76m) and freshman Cody Klein in seventh at 15-1 ½ (4.61m).
Senior Jeremy Stevens began his final outdoor season with a pair of third-place finishes after running his first-ever 3,000m steeplechase (9:21.66) and clocking a personal-best mark of 3:52.62 in the 1,500m. Illinois received fourth-place finishes from junior Nic Haab, who turned in a personal best in the 400m hurdles (52.60), and sophomore Malcolm Taylor, who had nearly a three-second personal best in the 800m (1:52.66).
Other top-five finishes on the track came from junior Jim Riddle in the 1,500m (3:55.07), sophomore Phil Pompei in the 3,000m (8:42.53) and the 4x400m `B' relay (3:17.64) of Haab, Taylor, sophomore Ryan Lynn and junior Shawn Ledbetter. Freshman Justin Boone also placed among the top five in the horizontal jumps, coming in third in the long jump with a mark of 21-11 ¾ (6.70m) and fifth in the triple jump at 45-4 ½ (13.83m).
The Illini finished in front of Indiana State (132), Northern Iowa (115), Central Missouri (81), Drake (63) and SE Missouri (28). A full list of Illinois results along with the team standings from the Tom Botts Invitational can be found below.
Up Next: Illinois will head to Knoxville, Tenn., for the Sea Ray Relays from April 14-16 and have a few distance runners compete at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif.
Illinois Results at the Tom Botts Invitational