Julian Smith looks to improve his short sprint times at the Armory Invite while others compete at Meyo Invitational this weekend.
Jan. 30, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illini men's track and field team will split between two meets this weekend as half will compete in the Armory Collegiate Invitational in New York, N.Y. while the other will travel to South Bend, Ind., to run in the Meyo Invitational. Both meets will take place on Friday, Feb. 1 and Saturday, Feb. 2.
"Once again we are excited to step up to another level of competition at both meets," head coach Mike Turk said. "The Armory Invite will really challenge our sprint and hurdle crew while the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational will provide a great opportunity for our distance crew to compete on an oversize track. Our preparation for the championship portion of our season is progressing well and both of these competitions will help us progress as a team. I expect our guys to compete to the best of their ability which will produce some great performances."
The group headed to New York is primarily sprinters and throwers. Sophomore Brandon Stryganek will be one of the leaders in the short sprints as he leads the conference in the 200m and ranks 13th best in the nation (21.11) and is ranked tied for seventh best in the Big Ten after his season-best time of 6.85. Junior Julian Smith will also look to improve his time as he also doubles up this weekend in the 60m, which he holds the third quickest time in the Big Ten, and 200m. Four Illini will compete in the 400m, including Juan Paul Green who leads the group and holds the third fastest time in the Big Ten while teammate Stephon Pamiltonholds the fifth best time.
After setting the third fastest 60-meter high hurdle in school history, junior Vanier Josephlooks to improve his season-best time of 7.83, which is tied for second fastest in the Big Ten and 13th in the nation. Freshman Cam Viney will also join Joseph this weekend.
The Illini will also send athletes in the shot put and weight throw, lead by sophomore Davis Fraker. Fraker holds the eighth best shot put mark in the conference and is joined by sophomore Brandon Noewho won the crown at the Illini Open.
The Meyo Invitational has been known for its distance races, therefore the Illini will send a majority of distance runners to South Bend. Senior Graham Morris leads the squad after setting the school record last weekend in the mile. Morris will be one of three Illini to compete in the event this weekend while senior Kyle Engnell and redshirt-freshman Tommy King will run the 3,000m. Junior Jordan Hebertopens his season in the 5,000m and looks to improve his personal best time in the event.
This weekend will be the first time the Orange and Blue compete in the Distance Medley Relay. The crew of redshirt-freshman David Eckhart, sophomore Josh Jones, senior Ryan Lynn and redshirt-freshman Sam Telferwill be the four to take the track.
The pole vault crew will once again lead the field events this weekend. After winning the Indiana Relays title last weekend, Matthew Bane looks to improve upon his Big Ten leading mark of 17-8 1/2 (5.40m) while Cody Klein ranks second in the conference while Josh Hodur is not far behind in fourth. Also, keep an eye out for sophomore Branden Tanthavongin the triple jump as he owns the third best mark in the conference after setting a personal best (49-7 1/4) last weekend.
The Orange and Blue will split again next weekend when some compete at the FloTrack Husky Classic while others will run at the Spire Division 1 Invitational. The Spire Invitational will be ran in Geneva, Ohio and is where the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships will be held. Both meets take place on Friday, Feb. 8 and Saturday, Feb. 9.