Senior Malcolm Taylor will be one of many Illini to compete at the Spire Invitational this weekend.
Feb. 7, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini men's track and field team split up for a pair of meets this weekend, Feb. 8-9, with six athletes heading to the FloTrack Husky Classic and the majority of the team traveling to the Spire Invitational. The Husky Classic in Seattle, Wash., features 16 of the top 25 teams in the nation and is held at the Dempsey Indoor Track. The Spire Invitational boasts at least six Big Ten foes, including three teams ranked in the top 25 nationally. The meet will be held at the SPIRE Division I Track & Field Invitational and is the site of the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships.
"This is our last competition before conference," head coach Mike Turk said. "We'll have guys at both meets focusing on their primary events. We have been competing pretty hard with some guys so we won't have as many people doubling up their work load. Both competitions will present an excellent opportunity for high level performances and we just want to put the athletes in the best possible position for success. As a team, we are pretty healthy and well prepared. I'm very optimistic of the weekend's results."
School record holder Graham Morris, Big Ten point scorers Ryan Lynn, Hunter Mickow and Jim Riddle will make the trip to Washington along with newcomers Jannis Topfer and Luke Carroll. Morris will compete in the 3,000m with Topfer for the first time this season for both athletes. Lynn is scheduled to run in his second 800m race of the season as the senior won the event at the IU Relays a few weeks ago. Riddle will open his season this weekend in the 5,000m as the senior looks to improve his personal best (14:03.16) which was set at this meet last year. Mickow will join Riddle in the 5K race as Carroll will run the mile for the second consecutive week.
After tallying a number of personal bests last weekend, the rest of the Illini look to continue that trend at the Spire Invitational. Coming off a weekend in which he set a career-best in the 400m (47.20), junior Stephon Pamilton is scheduled for another stellar performance in the event as his time ranks third fastest in the Big Ten. Joining Pamilton is freshman Juan Paul Green who's 400m time ranks in the top-10 in the conference. Sophomore Brandon Stryganek, who matched his indoor personal best in the 200m will run the event again along with sophomore DJ Zahn and junior Julian Smith.
Senior Malcolm Taylor looks to improve his 600m time as the local won the event at the IU relays a few weeks back. Junior Zebo Zebe will join Taylor in his third time running the event this season. In the mile, senior Kyle Engnell comes off a personal best performance last weekend at the Meyo Invitational in the event. He will be the lone Illini to compete and is currently the second fastest Illini in the mile this season.
Freshman Paul Zeman and junior Jordan Hebert are scheduled to run the 5,000m while four Illini are set to compete in the 60m hurdles. Junior Vanier Joseph looks to improve upon his personal best time of 7.83 set a few weeks ago while freshman Cam Viney, junior Steve Monte and sophomore Corey Hammon will also compete in the event.
The pole vault crew will continue their success this weekend, as three of the four are ranked in the top-10 of the conference. Sophomore Matthew Bane is tied for the top spot in the Big Ten and T-10th in the NCAA while junior Cody Klein is third in the conference along with senior Josh Hodur ranking sixth.
The Illini will have a week off before traveling back to Geneva, Ohio to compete in the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championships on Friday, Feb. 22 and Saturday, Feb. 23.