Senior Andrew Riley set the second fastest time in the world, and a new school record (13.28) in the 110m hurdles at the John McDonnell Invite.
April 21, 2012
Fayetteville, Ark. - Senior Andrew Riley highlighted the John McDonnell Invitational, setting the second fastest time in the world, and a new school record in the 110m hurdles. Riley's time is also the fastest in the nation by seven-tenths of a second. The senior also grabbed first place in the 100m dash while setting a personal-best during the prelims and posting a time which ranks third fastest in school history.
"We had another really good weekend," head coach Mike Turk said. "I believe we are progressing in our preparation for Big Tens. It seems like we have people making breakthroughs every week. Andrew obviously had a very special performance. Today he elevated himself to another level. He was so happy after the race and it appeared as though he was having fun and has his focus back."
In the 110m hurdles, Riley won his heat in the prelims with a time of 13.40 and followed it with being the first collegian across the line in the final with a new school record time of 13.28. The Kingston, Jamaica native eclipsed his old hurdles time by four-tenths of a second (13.32), which was set at last year's NCAA West Preliminary round. Aries Merritt, competing for Reebok, won the title with a time of 13.25, the fastest time in the world this year. In the 100m, Riley ran 10.28 in the prelims, a time that sits third-fastest in school history. The senior then took the event crown with a time of 10.52 while a trio of Illini finished in the top-seven. Senior Stanley Azie (10.63) placed second while freshmen Brandon Stryganek (10.78) and Jade Akermann (10.87) finished fifth and seventh, respectively.
Azie, Stryganek and Ackerman later competed in the 200m finishing fourth, seventh and eighth with Stryganek running a new personal-best time of 21.09. In the 400m, DJ Zahn finished seventh with a time of 48.59 while two other Illini set career-bests in the 800m as sophomore's Zebo Zebe (1:50.53) finished fifth overall and Malcolm Taylor (1:51.51) followed close behind to take sixth after winning his heat.
"Our sprint crew showed its quality and depth," Turk said. "I'm very happy with their performances and progression as a group, although we still have a ways to go. Our middle distance group turned around 180 degrees from the past couple of years. We have three guys at 1:50 or better and I believe we can add another one soon."
Senior Graham Farnsworth, in his second 1,500m race of the season, finished eighth in a time of 3:50.47. A pair of juniors posted new career-bests in the 5,000m as Phil Pompei placed runner-up in a time of 14:28.70 and Hunter Mickow (14:29.11) finished fourth.
The 4x100m relay squad of Riley, Stryganek, Josh Zinzer and Azie ran 39.88 to take first place in the event.
Four of the five Illini competing at Mt. SAC set lifetime-bests highlighted by freshman Joe McAsey's 800m time of 1:49.74, finishing third in his heat and ninth overall. Senior Kyle Engnell finished the 1,500m with a career-best time of 3:49.24, while Jim Riddle set a 10 second personal-best in the 5,000m with a time of 14:10.76.
Next weekend, the team will split again as most of the squad will compete at Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa while a small group will run at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, April 26-28.
Illinois Results at the Mt. SAC Relays
26. Kyle Engnell 3:49.24
Illinois Results at the John McDonnell Invitational
7. DJ Zahn 48.59
400 Meter Hurdles
8. Gary Ford 56.42
3. Branden Tanthavong, 46-8 ¼ (14.23m)
2. Brett Ramirez 189-2 (57.66m)