Illini Place Fourth at Big Ten Championships
May 13, 2013
COLUMBUS, Ohio -- The Illini men's track and field team finished fourth with 86 points at the 2013 Big Ten Championships, behind two individual conference champions. Junior's Vanier Joseph and Stephon Pamilton won Big Ten titles in their respective events while junior Cody Klein and the 4x400m relay notched runner-up performances.
"We have big goals and high expectations as a program and we fell a little short of those this weekend," head coach Mike Turk said. "We had some tough breaks today with Brandon Stryganek pulling and Cam Viney going down in the hurdles. However, we faced some adversity for sure and I am proud of the way our guys kept competing and fighting until the very end. A number of guys stepped up big. We will grow as a program from this experience."
Joseph won his first Big Ten outdoor title in the 110m hurdles on Sunday, crossing the line with a time of 13.70 to notch 10 significant points for the Illini. It was the fourth consecutive year an Illini has won the hurdles event with Andrew Riley winning the last three titles. In the 400m hurdles, freshman Cameron Viney placed ninth with a time of 55.02.
"Vanier was dominant and proved he is the best hurdler in the conference," Turk said. "We've now won that event four years in a row. Cam was right in the thick of it as well and he clipped the fifth hurdle and went down. It's really a shame because he ran so well in the prelims. Cam was in a tough position in the 400m hurdles on the outside and I know he was a little beat up from the spill he took in the high hurdles. He still needs to learn from all that and refocus. I'm sure he will do better next time."
Pamilton gave the Illini their second individual champion as he crossed the finish line of the 400m in a time of 46.06. The time was just off his personal best of 46.00 which was set the LSU Alumni Gold Meet at the end of April. He also finished fourth in the 200m with a time of 21.42 to earn four team points.
"Stephon ran a perfect race," Turk said. "He got out well, conserved just enough energy, came off the turn down the home stretch with the lead and pulled away. Under the windy conditions, his time was outstanding. In the 200m, I thought he gave it his all. He came on late and moved up a couple spots, nearly into the top three. He was a warrior for us this weekend. What a great addition he has been to the team this year."
The Illini received five team points in the 100m as freshman Brandon Stryganek placed sixth with a time of 10.55 and junior Julian Smith finished close behind in seventh. Stryganek has now scored in the 100m in the outdoor championships twice, finishing eighth last year.
"Julian ran really well this weekend," Turk said. "he often goes unnoticed by many but not by the coaches or his teammates. He is such a hard worker, it's satisfying to see him succeed. Brandon had the hamstring injury and gutted out a place too. I know he wanted to do more. They're both team first guys."
In the 5,000m freshman Ian Barnett scored at the conference meet for the first time in his career. Barnett finished fourth in the 5,000m with a time of 14:10.02 to give the Orange and Blue five more team points late in the afternoon on Sunday. Teammate Tommy King finished the race in a time of 14:54.58.
"Ian capped off a good weekend by our distance crew," Turk said. "He ran a really smart race and put together a great performance. Our distance crew has come a long way and I think Ian can lead that group to another level."
The 4x100m relay squad of Smith, Stryganek, Pamilton and sophomore DJ Zahn finished third with a time of 40.29 to score six team points while the 4x400m relay of Zahn, Viney, freshman Juan Paul Green and Pamilton moved up throughout the race to finish runner-up with a time of 3:09.00.
"We knew Stryganek wasn't at full strength coming into the meet but he did a great job getting the 4x100m relay through the prelims. Today, he just couldn't go hard. He tried and his teammates, helped hold it together for a very important third place. In the 4x400m, DJ got us out well and Pamilton brought it home hard. Those guys ran for pride. I was excited to see us not give up. We moved up two places in the team standings and almost three. We can build on that finish for the future and those guys will have a chance to advance through the rounds of the NCAA."
The Illini pole vault crew contributed 17 team points on a windy Sunday afternoon as Klein highlighted the group with his second place finish. Klein finished with a mark of 16-11 (5.16m) while junior Matthew Bane tied for third with a height of 16-7 1/4 (5.06m). Freshman Mitch Mammoser tied for fifth in the vault, with a lifetime best mark of 16-7 1/4 (5.06m) while Joshua Hodur finished ninth.
"With four guys in the top nine, three scoring points and 17 total, I'd say our vault crew was on it today," Turk said. "Mitch came up with a new personal best to score big points for us and Cody and Matt were once again in it until the end."
Freshman Ben Dodds finished sixth in the discus with a career best throw of 203-10 (62.13m). Senior Steve Monte placed 13th with a mark of 189-06 (57.75m) while James Sullivan finished 15th with a mark of 180-04 (54.97m).
"With Steve still injured and not 100%, Ben is a guy that stepped up and broke the form chart this weekend," Turk said. "He had three throws over his previous personal best. His contribution was special."
The Illinois men's track and field team will head to Austin, Texas in two weeks for the NCAA West Preliminary Round of Championships from May 23-25 at the University of Texas. The Illini athletes who qualify for the opening round of competition will be announced later this week.
Illinois Sunday Results at Big Ten Outdoor Championships
Final Team Results