Senior Scott Phelps will run the 800m and 1,000m at the Meyo Invitational on Saturday.
Feb. 4, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - After back-to-back victories with a combined 21 individual event titles, the Illinois men's track and field team is primed for continued success at the Meyo Invitational this weekend, Feb. 5-6. The two-day meet boasts some of the top competition in the nation and will be held on an oversized track (300m) at the Loftus Center on the Notre Dame campus in South Bend, Ind. Friday's single session will begin at 5 p.m., while Saturday is divided into two sessions, with unseeded sections in the morning followed by the invitational sections in the afternoon.
"This meet is all about our guys stepping up their individual performances," interim head coach Mike Turk said. "Our team is ready to compete at a higher level, and they need to go out there and show that they can. We have done a lot of conditioning to get ready for this point, so we are looking forward to the next challenge."
Sophomore Andrew Riley looks to hit an NCAA championships qualifying mark and add to his six individual event titles this season, as he we will compete in the 60m dash, 60m hurdles, high jump and long jump. The Kingston, Jamaica, native recently reset his personal best in the 60m (6.78) and won the long jump at the Carle/Health Alliance Classic, which was his first time competing in the event.
Joining Riley in the 60m are sophomore Stanley Azie and freshman Boyea Lockett, while sophomore Shawn Ledbetter is the only other Illini hurdler. Freshman Ryan Michel will be the only other Illini to join Riley in the high jump since senior All-American Greg Shroka will sit out this weekend, and sophomore Roger Jones is the only other long jumper.
Azie and Lockett also will run the 200m alongside junior Shane Daniel, who runs the event for the first time this season. Daniel leads a trio of sprinters in the 400m, which includes junior Dan Jones and freshman Bai Kabba. Jones also will compete in the 500m with freshman Malcolm Taylor, while Kabba is slated to run the 300m with fellow freshman Josh Zinzer. The 4x400m relay will include Daniel, Kabba, Taylor and Jones.
Senior Scott Phelps has finished in the top three in his event at all three meets thus far and is scheduled to run the 1,000m and the 800m with fellow senior Brian Beaird and Taylor. The Illinois distance crew has shown improvement throughout the year and expects it to continue this weekend. Last weekend's mile champion Kyle Engnell again will compete in the event along with senior Mike Murray and sophomore Graham Farnsworth. Other distance runners competing include sophomore Chris DeSilva (3,000m), the Mickow brothers and freshman Tom Achtien in the 5,000m.
In the triple jump, junior Oz Lifshitz, who has won the event at the last two meets, and Roger Jones will compete. Other field events competitors include sophomore Brett Einbecker in the shot put and three Illini pole-vaulters in junior Alex Baldwin, sophomore Will Schaeffer and freshman Josh Hodur.
"Everyone needs to make a contribution and fulfill their role," Turk said. "I have seen a lot of improvement from our distance crew, and our younger sprinters have begun to develop a lot more confidence, so this will be a great opportunity for them to showcase what they can do."
Full results and a recap can be found on fightingillini.com following the competition. Next week, Illinois splits up for a pair of meets, with part of the team competing at the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa, and the other part of the squad heading to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational.