Graham Morris will open his season in the mile this weekend as the Fighting Illini compete at the Indiana Relays.
Jan. 24, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois men's track and field teams returns to competition this weekend as they travel to the Gladstein Fieldhouse in Bloomington, Ind., to compete in the Indiana Relays on Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26. The squad will be one of 30 to compete as the meet kicks off at 2 p.m. CT on Friday with invitational competition from 6-8, and Saturday's competition starts at 9 a.m. ET with invitational field events throughout the day and invitational races starting at 2:45 p.m. CT.
"We are really excited for this weekend," head coach Mike Turksaid. "Our season is off to a good start. The team is ready to step up the level of competition in preparation for Big Tens and the banked track at Indiana is fast. The guys have been working hard and they're anxious to put up some big performances. We have a chance to have a very good season but we have to continue to press forward with a sense of urgency. I think we could see several people move up the Big Ten and NCAA performance lists after this weekend."
Illinois will have a number of athletes competing in individual events on Friday, beginning with senior Brett Einbecker in the weight throw at 2 p.m. CT. The pole vault pair of Steve Monte and Mitch Mammoser will look to improve their marks when the event starts at 2:30 p.m. Junior Ryan Michel and sophomore Branden Tanthavongcomplete the Illini competitors in the field events with Michel in the high jump (6:15) and Tanthavong in the triple jump (7:30), respectively.
The hurdle crew of Gary Ford, Vanier Joseph and Cameron Viney will start things off for the Illini on the track, beginning at 2:25 p.m. Thirty minutes later, a trio of Orange and Blue sprinters will compete in the 60m while Josh Jones is scheduled to run in the 600m at 6:30 p.m. Transfer Graham Morris and senior Kyle Engnellwill take the track around 6:30 p.m. to run the mile, Morris' speciality event.
"We'll get a chance to see newcomer Graham compete in his speciality, the mile for the first time this year," Turk said. The field in the invitational mile is stacked with several former All-Americans in the race. It will present him a great opportunity to perform at the highest level. I think Ryan Lynnwill be in a similar situation in the 800m. Viney in the hurdles has been a surprise in the early season and we are anticipating some good performances from fellow hurdlers Vanier and Gary."
Juan-Paul Green and Zebo Zebe will compete in the 600m on Friday night while four Illini will run the 200m, led by sophomore Brandon Stryganek, who won the event last weekend and currently holds the fastest time in the Big Ten. Senior Hunter Mickow and freshman Tommy Kingwill compete in the 3,000m, the final event on Friday night which is scheduled to begin at 7:55 p.m.
The action at the Gladstein Fieldhouse returns on Saturday morning at 9:35 a.m. when Jade Ackerman look to improve their time in the 200m, followed by senior Brett Ramirez and freshman Brandon Noe in the weight throw at 11 a.m. Newcomer Luke Carroll will begin his season on Saturday, running in the 800m while three Illini are scheduled to run in the 400m including Stephon Pamilton. Ford will also compete in the long jump while the pole vault trio of Matt Bane, Josh Hodur and Cody Klein continue their success in the early indoor season at 2 p.m. After winning the 800m title last weekend, Ryan Lynn looks to repeat the crown this weekend while senior Brett Einbecker, sophomore Davis Frakerand Noe will compete in the shot put.
On Saturday, Illinois is scheduled to compete in two relays: the 4x800m beginning at 3:35 p.m. and the 4x400m starting at 4:15 p.m.
"Of course it's always fun to watch our vault crew," Turk said. "They are doing great thus far. We are really looking forward to testing our 4x400m relay against better competition as well."
The Illini will split into multiple groups next weekend as some travel to New York, N.Y., for the Armory Collegiate Invitational and others to the Meyo Invitational in South Bend, Ind., both on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2.