Orange and Blue Find Success at Drake
April 26, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- The Illini shined on Friday at Drake Relays as all relays performed well, putting the team in good position to win the first annual Hy-Vee Cup. The 4x800 and DMR relays notched a runner-up and third place finishes while the 4x100m and 4x400m relay squads posted the fastest prelims time. Junior Matthew Bane finished second in the pole vault as he tied the sixth best vault in school history. The 4x1 and 4x4 relays along with junior Vanier Joseph (110m H) advanced to Saturday's event finals at the meet.
"I'm pleased with how we performed today," head coach Mike Turk said. "The guys on the relays all executed well and we are in good position in our pursuit of the first Hyvee Cup. Tomorrow promises to be an exciting day. We're looking forward to competing."
The Orange and Blue competed well in the distance medley relay as the squad of freshman Liam Markham, Green, junior Zebo Zebe and freshman Ian Barnett came in third with a time of 9:50.98. They continued their success into Friday night where the 4x800m relay of Zebe, freshman Luke Carroll, sophomore Josh Jones and senior Ryan Lynn finished runner-up with a time of 7:28.19.
"The DMR got us in the scoring column for the cup with a fine effort for third place," Turk said. "Liam got us off to a good start and Juan and Zebo kept us in the hunt. Ian did an admirable job dropping down from his usual longer distance races to run the anchor leg and finished strong for us. That allowed us to keep Luke fresh for the 4x800. We knew the 4x800 field would be strong and potentially a really tough race for our guys. Each guy competed well and were thrilled with a second place finish. It was a great team effort. Zebe led us off and ran a very smart race, putting us in good position. Luke showed some aggressiveness and ran a personal best. Josh is the unsung hero of the relay. He may not have as good of an open time as some others but he is a fierce competitor. Ryan anchored well and made a run at Minnesota, who was anchored by their 800m All-American Harun Abda."
Junior Julian Smith led off the 4x100m relay, which timed a season best 40.16 and consisted of sophomore Brandon Stryganek, junior Stephon Pamilton and sophomore DJ Zahn. The Illini won their heat and clocked the fastest time of the day. Later, the 4x400m relay of Zahn, freshman Cameron Viney, freshman Juan Paul Green and Pamilton advanced to the final with the best time of the afternoon, crossing the finish line with a time of 3:07.25. The 4x4 squad will compete against two other Big Ten schools in the finals, including Minnesota and Nebraska.
"We finally executed our exchanges a little better and got the stick around the track," Turk said. "We showed we have some speed on our relays. Stephon ran an outstanding third leg and showed that if we can get the stick around the track, he can make a difference. We didn't run our fastest 4x400 time of the year but the effort was good and the time was good. I think our guys just went out and got the job done. They will have to let it all hang out tomorrow."
Joseph won his heat of the 110m hurdles to automatically advance to the finals with a time of 14.176. His time was the second fastest of the afternoon, only by five one-thousandths of a second behind Indiana State's Greggmar Swift (14.171).
"Vanier showed he is back to full strength," Turk said. "His time into a strong headwind was very good and he beat the Big Ten indoor hurdle champion in his heat."
The pole vault crew once again continued their success this season as Bane highlighted the competition, finishing second with a mark of 17-4 1/2 (5.29m). The mark is a personal best and ties the sixth best vault in school history and the first time a vaulter has cracked the top-10 outdoor list since 2009. Junior Cody Klein finished fifth with a mark of 16-10 3/4 (5.15m) while freshman Mitch Mammoser was just off his personal best with a mark of 16-4 3/4 (5.00m) to place sixth overall.
"It is unusual to get four people accepted for entry into a single event at the Drake Relays like we did in the pole vault," Turk said. "To have four guys place in the top six is phenomenal. All four guys jumped well and are headed into the Big Ten meet in two weeks on an upswing."
The Illini will be back in action on the track Saturday morning in the sprint medley relay while two Orange and Blue will kick things off in the discus. The remaining schedule of Illini action at the Drake Relays can be found below. Full results and a recap following the completion of the meet can be found on fightingillini.com
Illinois Schedule at the Drake Relays
Saturday, April 27