Senior Josh Hodur and the Fighting Illini men's track and field team open up the indoor season at home on Saturday.
Jan. 11, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois men's track and field team will host the Illini Open along with the Illini women's team on Saturday, Jan. 12 at the UI Armory. The meet is free to the public and will begin at 10 a.m. with the weight throw, while the running events will begin at 1 p.m. A full meet schedule and heat sheets are attached in the link above.
"Coming off break, many of our guys are still focusing on their preparation for the season and will not be competing or are competing in secondary events," head coach Mike Turk said. "However, the first meet of the year is always exciting because I know we are going to see several newcomers putting on the uniform for the first time. Many of our newcomers will compete unattached as we protect their eligibility and the possibility of redshirting."
The Illini will compete against runners from Butler, St. Louis, Rend Lake, Wabash, Hannibal LaGrange and Lindenwood along with unattached competitors.
Newcomer Julian Smith will open his Illini career the 60m and the 200m, two events in which he holds the school record at his previous school, Valparaiso. Joining Smith in the 200m will be senior Steve Monte, who will also compete in the 60m hurdles. Two other Illini will look for good performance in the hurdles, including newcomer Cameron Viney who has been impressive with his fall training.
Junior Zebo Zebe will be the lone Illini to run in the 400m while coach Turk is looking forward to seeing two specific athletes make their Illini debuts in the 600m, including Stephon Pamilton and Juan Paul Green. Sophomore D.J. Zahn will also add depth to the 600m race, looking to set his personal-best, which was originally set at the Illini Open last year. Returner Ryan Lynn will also move up an event from his speciality as he leads the Illini in the mile for the second straight year at the meet.
"Both Stephon and Juan Paul will move up to the 600m for their debuts," Turk said. "The 600m is up an event from their speciality of 400m, but both of these guys will have a big impact for us this year."
The field events will be led by the pole vault crew, as five Illini are scheduled to compete on Saturday including 2011 Big Ten champion Matt Bane and Big Ten point scorers Josh Hodur and Cody Klein.
"People will be excited to watch some of our field events, especially in the pole vault," Turk said. "We have a great competitive crew of vaulters. They have worked very hard in the off season and way ahead of where they were at this time last year. It will be fun to watch them."
In the throws, sophomore Brandon Noe will look to lead the competitors in the shot put as he placed second at the Illini Open last season. Senior Brett Ramirez set the third best mark in school history in the weight throw last year and seeks to improve upon his mark this year. Teammate Brett Einbecker will also compete in the weight throw tomorrow as well.
Senior Ryan Michel will open his 2013 indoor season in the high jump at the meet with high expectations. Michel won the Illini Open title last season.
"I'm glad to see a healthy Ryan," Turk said. "I think he is back to the point where he was before injury. He'll be looking to clear the seven foot barrier this year."
The Orange and Blue will be back in action next weekend at the UI Armory for the Illini Classic on Jan. 18-19.