Feb. 23, 2012
Complete Big Ten Indoor Notes | Championship Central | Live Results
Friday Heat Sheets | Saturday Heat Sheets
2012 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships
Friday, Feb. 24-Saturday, Feb. 25
University of Nebraska Devaney Center Indoor Track // Lincoln, Neb.
The Illinois men's track and field team heads to Lincoln, Neb., for the Big Ten Indoor Championships this weekend at Nebraska's Devaney Center Indoor Track. For the first time in history, both men and women, will compete on the same track for the conference crown against several of the nation's top-ranked squads. The meet begins Friday at 10 a.m. CT with the start of the heptathlon followed by the field events and running trials beginning at 12:20 p.m. Finals for the long jump, shot put, pole vault, 3,000m and distance medley relay will all be held on Friday. The remaining 14 finals will take place on Saturday, beginning at 10 a.m. with the remaining events of the heptathlon. Running finals start at 12:55 p.m., with the final event, the 4x400m relay, scheduled for a 5:15 p.m. start. Live results will be available throughout the meet at fightingillini.com.
The 2012 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships will be televised tape-delayed by the Big Ten Network on Saturday, March 10 at 12:30 p.m. CT. Tim Neverett will call the action of the championships.
Illinois History at the Big Ten Indoor Championships
Illinois has won a total of 21 Big Ten indoor team titles, with the most recent coming in 1989. Last season, the Illini finished 7th at the indoor conference meet, scoring 57 points overall. Andrew Riley earned 16 of those points with a three-peat victory in the 60m hurdles and a third place finish in the 60m. Other returning scorers from a year ago include Stanley Azie, who was fifth in the 200m and sixth in the 60m and Cody Klein who placed sixth in the pole vault last year. Kyle Engnell and Ryan Lynn were part of the distance medley relay team which placed third and Malcolm Taylorran in the 4x400m relay team which finished seventh at last year's conference championship.
Loaded Big Ten Field
It will be one of the most competitive Big Ten Championships, as five of the 10 competing teams are currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 25. No. 8 Minnesota holds the highest spot followed by No. 11 Indiana, No. 13 Ohio State, No. 15 Nebraska and No. 18 Penn State. Minnesota is the three-time defending conference champion.
Head Coach Mike Turk on the 2012 Big Ten Indoor Championships
"I think our preparation for the conference meet has been really good. We know Andrew Riley and Stanley Aziewill be strong for us, however great performances from our middle distance and with our freshman will be key to put us in a good position to score points. These guys have put forth their best efforts in practice and so I'm confident good performances will come from all the hard work. Everyone has put the work in, trained smart and are ready to run and perform this weekend."
Illini Athletes to Watch:
Andrew Riley, Sprints / Hurdles (Sr., Kingston, Jamaica)
Senior Andrew Riley, a national champion and seven-time All-American, is the three-time defending champion in the 60m hurdles at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Riley was the 2009 Big Ten Freshman of the Year and a first-team All-Big Ten honoree in 2010 and 2011 after helping the Illini to a seventh place finish with 16 individual points. He will head into the conference meet ranked first in the 60m hurdles after notching an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 7.53 at the Tyson Invitational, which also ranks as the second-fastest time in the NCAA. For his efforts at the Invitational, Riley was named the Big Ten Athlete of the Week for the week of Feb. 13. The Kingston, Jamaica, native is undefeated in the event, winning the title at all three meets in which he has competed. He also will run the 60m dash, which he is currently tied for first with a school record and season-best time of 6.68.
Stanley Azie, Sprints (Sr., Bolingbrook, Ill.)
Senior Stanley Aziescored in the 60m and 200m last year and is poised for solid performances in both short sprinting events at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Azie clocked the fifth-fastest 200m time in the Big Ten at the Illini Classic with a mark of 21.73. He owns titles in the 60m and 200m this season while also ranking third in the conference in the 60m dash with a season-best time of 6.75.
Cody Klein, Pole Vault (So., Sparta, Ill.)
Sophomore Cody Klein, who has had as strong season thus far, looks to carry his past success into the Big Ten Championships meet. He is one of only a hand full of pole vaulters to clear a height of 17 feet this season, doing so twice so far during this season. Klein notched a PR of 17-2.75 (5.25m) at the Illini Classic. That marks is tied for eighth highest in school history and third in the Big Ten behind Nebraska's Nate Polacek (5.44m) and Ohio State's Heath Nickles (5.30m). Illinois is coming off a strong showing at last years Big Ten Championship meet with fellow sophomore Matt Bane earning Big Ten Champion honors. Klein, who finished sixth in last years meet, looks to improve.
Jim Riddle, Distance (Sr., Naperville, Ill.)
Senior Jim Riddle is one upperclassmen in the distance area who looks for a Big Ten title in the 3,000m and 5,000m. He is one of a handfull of distance runners who have set personal-bests this season, including improving his career-best 5,000m time (14:03.16) by 17 seconds at the Husky Classic a few weeks ago. His time also ranks among the Illini best, sitting at fifth fastest in school history and sixth in the conference. The 2012 NCAA cross country championships qualifier won the 3,000m title at the Illini Classic earlier this season and is joined this weekend by talented seniors Phil Pompei and Colin Mickow, along with freshman Ian Barnett.
Ryan Lynn, Middle Distance (So., Park Ridge, Ill.)
Ryan Lynn is one of the emerging middle distance runners for the Illini, after taking three first-place finishes this year and ranking in the conference and national level as a sophomore. Lynn has set personal-bests in all four of the races he's competed in this season. He took first in the 600m at the Illini Open (1:20.51) and Mark Colligan Memorial (1:19.74) and placed first in the 800m at the Illini Classic (1:51.34). Lynn also set a college-best 800m time at the Tyson Invitational with a time of 1:49.42, a time which ranks ninth fastest in the Big Ten and 10th fastest in school history. Another Illini to watch in the middle distance area is freshman Joe McAseyas both McAsey and Lynn will be a part of the 4x40m relay team which sits at 10th fastest in the conference with a time of 3:16.26.
Cody Wisslead, Hurdles (Sr., Sciota, Ill.)
Senior Cody Wissleadis another contender to score team points for the Illini in the 60m hurdles. Wisslead won the event title earlier this season at the Orange and Blue Open and set a personal-best time of 7.94 at the Tyson Invitational after he qualified for the finals. The time at the Tyson Invitational ranks fifth-fastest in the conference as well as on the national level. Wisslead will also be a part of the 4x400m relay team, which he has three times this season.
Complete Big Ten Notes can be found in the above PDF.