Brandon Stryganek looks to win his third consecutive 60m dash title.
Jan. 24, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois men's track and field team will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Lexington, Ky. for the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational on Jan. 24-25. This will be the first road trip of the season for the Illini, as the Orange and Blue have hosted the first two meets.
The USTFCCCA has named this weekend's meet its Division I National Meet of the Week based on the outstanding sprints/hurdles match-ups and the concentration of top-25 teams. The No.12 Illini will be joined by four other nationally-ranked teams, including No. 2 Florida, No. 3 Oregon, No. 18 Baylor and No. 24 Alabama, as well as Big Ten opponent Ohio State.
"We have had a good week of training, we're well prepared and excited for the strong competition we will face," said head coach Mike Turk. "With our attitude, the competition and oversized track, I expect to see some good performances."
Illinois will have several athletes competing in individual events on Friday, beginning with senior Zebo Zebe, junior Josh Jones and freshman Malik Lee competing in the 600m at 2:30 p.m CT. Jones ran a personal best time to place fourth in the event at the Illini Classic last weekend, while Zebe placed third. At 2:40 p.m., senior Brandon Stryganek will compete in the 200m dash after clocking a personal best to win the event at the Illini Classic. He also holds the second-fastest time in the Big Ten in the event. Junior DJ Zahn, senior Julian Smith and freshman Kenneth Allen will also compete in the 200m, while freshman Ian Briscoe will compete in the high jump at 4:15.
Junior Davis Fraker looks to win his third consecutive weight throw title at 4:30 p.m., while freshman David Kendziera seeks to do the same in the long jump. Senior Jordan Hebert and sophomore Paul Zeman will compete in the first 5,000m race of the season (6:35 p.m.), while the distance medley relay squad will make its season debut on Friday (7:10 p.m.) Freshman George Wayda will compete in the heptathlon, with events taking place Friday and Saturday.
"We will get our first glimpse of the distance medley relay this year," said Turk. "We were national finalists last year. This weekend, we will run Luke Carroll, Stephon Pamilton, Joe McAsey and Liam Markham. That quartet has the potential to get us back to the NCAA finals."
Action continues on Saturday with the 60m hurdles prelims. David Kendziera looks to win his third straight title in the event, and will be joined by teammates Cam Viney, Corey Hammon, and Vanier Joseph. Julian Smith and defending Big Ten champion Brandon Stryganek will represent the Illini in the 60m dash, while sophomore Ian Barnett will make his season debut in the mile alongside teammate Luke Carroll at 12:15 p.m.
After winning the 400m dash title at the Illini Classic, DJ Zahn will compete in the event for the second time this season. Zahn will be joined by Kenneth Allen, who finished just behind Zahn to place second last weekend. In the 800m run, Illini Open champion Josh Jones will be joined by teammates Joe McAsey and Zebo Zebe, while graduate student Jannis Toepfer, sophomore Liam Markham and freshman Will Brewster will compete in the 3,000m. The final running event of the day will be the 4x400m relay at 3:35 p.m.
In the field events, the five-man pole vault crew of senior Cody Klein, juniors Matt Bane and Corey Hammon, sophomore Blaze Galardy and freshman Brandon Carrel will compete at 12:00 p.m. on Saturday. Klein set a season-best mark of 16-10 1/4 (5.15m) at the Illini Classic, which currently ranks second in the Big Ten. Juniors Davis Fraker and Brandon Noe will represent the Illini in the shot put, while sophomore Branden Tanthavong seeks to win his third consecutive triple jump title at 1:30 p.m.
"We will have Matthew Bane, Vanier Joseph and Stephon Pamilton back this week," said Turk. "Our young guys stepped up and performed well without them last week. I expect our veterans to lead and get the job done this week."
Next weekend, the Orange and Blue travel to Bloomington, Ind. for the Indiana Relays on Jan. 31-Feb. 1.