11 Event Titles Lead to Illinois Twilight Victory
April 12, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois men's track and field racked up 11 event titles at the Illinois Twilight on Saturday. In the first outdoor meet since 2010, the Illini set marks that rank among the best in both the conference and in the nation, and four athletes entered their names into the record books. The Orange & Blue scored 253 points to win the meet, followed by Indiana State (158) in second.
"We had a great meet," said head coach Mike Turk. "It was an awesome day. The guys were really excited for a home meet. We got lucky with the weather. Of course, it would have been nice if it wasn't quite so windy earlier in the day, but it was a warm day and it was a lot of fun. We challenged them earlier in the week and told them that this is our one outdoor home meet, let's make it a good one and put on a show. Our guys really stepped up."
Vanier Joseph continued his success in the 110m hurdles, setting a new facility record to win the event for the third straight week. His personal-best time of 13.41 is currently the fastest in the nation so far this season, and is the second-fastest time in school history. Brandon Stryganek won the 100m with a time of 10.29, which is the fourth-fastest time in school history and currently the second-fastest in the Big Ten this season. Julian Smith finished just behind his teammate with a time of 10.45, the 10th-fastest time in school history, to take second.
"That was an amazing performance by Vanier," said Turk. "Vanier is feeling great about where he is right now. Preparation means a lot and I told him that it's his belief in himself. That's what is really maing a differ,cdm he's starting to believe in himself and his preparation. The guy he beat tonight, Greggmar Smith, is the real deal. That was a legit win."
The Illini claimed the top three spots in the 400m, led by DJ Zahn. Zahn clocked a personal-best time of 46.18, currently eighth in the nation, to win the event, followed by Joe McAsey (47.30) and Kenneth Allen (47.35) in second and third, respectively. The top-three finishers in the 200m were also wearing Orange and Blue, led by Stephon Pamilton. Pamilton clocked a personal-best time of 20.83 to win the event, which is the sixth-fastest time in school history and the fastest in the Big Ten this season. Brandon Stryganek (20.85) ran a season-best to place second, while Julian Smith placed third with a personal-best time of 21.07. Ian Barnett won the 3,000m with a personal-best time of 8:19.18, while Brendan McDonnel placed first in the 5,000m.
"Sweeping the 400m was pretty impressive," said Turk. "Big PR for DJ Zahn. All year he's been progressing and stepping up, and he's putting himself up at the top of the conference. Joe McAsey was second and that was a huge race for him. He's an 800m guy so it was kind of shocking that he ran so fast. Also a huge PR for Kenneth Allen. Last week he ran in great conditions and on a great track, and he ran faster here tonight. It was just a great performance. Those guys were awesome."
In the 1,500m, Liam Markham and Graham Morris finished one-two, with Markham clocking a 3:47.04 and Morris finishing in 3:47.41. Zebo Zebe took second in the 800m with a season-best time of 1:51.42, while Josh Jones set a personal-best time of 1:51.66 to place fourth. David Kendziera clocked a personal-best time of 52.45 to place third in the 400m hurdles. Brendan McDonnell won the 5,000m, while Paul Zeman finished third.
The Illini also got wins in both relays. The 4x100m squad of Julian Smith, Brandon Stryganek, Stephon Pamilton and DJ Zahn clocked a time of 39.61, which is a new facility record and the fastest time in the Big Ten this season. Cam Viney, Joe McAsey, Kenneth Allen and Pamilton ran in the 4x400m relay and placed first with a time of 3:09.34.
Davis Fraker (56.47m) recorded the top collegiate mark in the hammer throw, while Brandon Noe (56.45m) placed second in the discus with the third-best mark in school history. Ryan Michel placed second in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 2.03m, while Aaron Wilks (55.19m) and Ben Dodds (54.99m) placed second and third in the javelin, respectively. Blaze Galardy recorded the best collegiate mark in the pole vault with a personal-best 5.13m.
"Blaze set a lifetime best, indoor or outdoor," said Turk. "He's a guy that has earned his way into competitions. He's made the most of his opportunities and he's elevated his game to where he's a play. He's a conference scorer and he keeps getting better and he's really showing something. Brandon Noe moved up to number three on our all-time list. He didn't throw his best, he was trying to hit the wind too hard, but it was still a real good performance for him."
Illinois First-Place Finishers