Feb. 24, 2011
Complete Big Ten Indoor Notes | Championship Central | Live Results
2011 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships
Saturday, Feb. 26 - Sunday, Feb. 27
University of Illinois Armory // Champaign, Ill.
The University of Illinois will host the 2011 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track & Field Championships on Saturday and Sunday, February 26 and 27 at the University of Illinois Armory. The Illini, who host the championships for the first time since 2003, will compete for the conference crown against several of the nation's top-ranked squads. The meet begins Saturday at 10 a.m. CT with the start of the heptathlon followed by the field events and running trials beginning at 1:30 p.m. Finals for the long jump, shot put, pole vault, 3,000m and distance medley relay will all be held on Saturday. The remaining 14 finals will take place on Sunday, beginning at 10 a.m. with the remaining events of the heptathlon. Running finals start at 1 p.m., with the final event, the 4x400m relay, scheduled for a 3:25 p.m. start. Live results will be available throughout the meet at fightingillini.com.
The 2011 Big Ten Men's Indoor Track and Field Championships will be televised tape-delayed by the Big Ten Network on Saturday, March 12 at 2 p.m. CT. Dan Kelly will call the action, with analysis from Craig Virgin and Kenny McReynolds.
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 10th at the indoor conference meet, scoring 40 points overall. Andrew Riley earned 21 of those points with a repeat victory in the 60m hurdles, a runner-up finish in the 60m dash and a sixth-place finish in the long jump. Other returning scorers from a year ago include Shane Daniel, who placed fifth in the 400m, Stanley Azie, who was sixth in the 60m, Dan Jones, who was eighth in the 400m, and Oz Lifshitz, who took eighth in the triple jump.
Loaded Big Ten Field
It will be one of the most competitive Big Ten Championships, as six of the 10 competing teams are currently ranked in the USTFCCCA Top 25. No. 3 Indiana holds the highest spot followed by No. 10 Penn State, No. 15 Iowa, No. 16 Wisconsin, No. 20 Minnesota and No. 22 Ohio State. Minnesota is the two-time defending conference champion.
Interim Head Coach Mike Turk on the 2011 Big Ten Indoor Championships
"It is a rare occasion to host, so it will be a lot of fun to compete in front of our home crowd. We have had terrific meets at home and our guys have performed really well. Our motto for the season is `Live Like a Champion Every Day', which has been our focus throughout the year. They have followed that idea all throughout practice and are prepared to compete at their best this weekend. The national rankings show six Big Ten teams ranked in the Top 25 and we are not one of those teams, so that is the group we are working to break into. We are knocking on that door and very close to getting there. This conference is extremely deep with a lot of parity, so every point will be critical this weekend."
Illini Athletes to Watch:
Andrew Riley, Sprints / Hurdles (Jr., Kingston, Jamaica)
Junior Andrew Riley, a national champion and four-time All-American, is the two-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 a year ago after scoring over half of Illinois' 40 points with a victory in the 60m hurdles, a runner-up finish in the 60m dash and a sixth-place finish in the long jump. He will head into the meet ranked first in the 60m hurdles after notching an NCAA automatic qualifying mark of 7.69 at the Tyson Invitational, which also ranks as the second-fastest time in the NCAA. The Kingston, Jamaica, native is undefeated in the event, winning the title at all four meets in which he has competed. He also will run the 60m dash, which he currently ranks fifth in with a season-best time of 6.76.
Stanley Azie, Sprints (Jr., Bolingbrook, Ill.)
Junior Stanley Azie scored in the 60m dash in 2010 and is poised for solid performances in both short sprinting events at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. Azie clocked the fourth-fastest 200m time in the Big Ten at the Illini Classic with a mark of 21.56, which was converted down to 21.16 after being run on a flat track. He owns a pair of event titles and two second-place showings in the 200m this season while also ranking in the top 10 in the conference in the 60m dash with a season-best time of 6.82.
Matthew Bane, Pole Vault (Fr., Rochester, Ill.)
Freshman Matthew Bane, a pole vault state champion in high school, looks to carry his past success into his first collegiate conference meet. He is one of only three Big Ten pole vaulters to clear a height of 17 feet this season, doing so at each of his last three meets. Bane notched a PR of 17-0 3/4 (5.20m) at back-to-back weekends at the Meyo Invitational and Tyson Invitational. That mark ranks third in the Big Ten behind Minnesota's Brock Spandl (5.26m) and Ben Peterson (5.41m). Illinois has not scored in the pole vault at the Big Ten indoor meet since 2006, but is primed to do so this weekend with a pair of freshmen among the top eight, as newcomer Cody Klein, who finished second to Bane at the 2010 IHSA state meet, ranks eighth with a mark of 16-8 (5.08m).
Davis Fraker, Throws (Fr., Peachtree City, Ga.)
Freshman Davis Fraker, who was the 2010 New Balance high school national champion in the shot put and runner-up in the discus and hammer throw, quickly made his mark at Illinois, breaking the weight throw school record on his very first collegiate attempt in a dual meet against Iowa. Fraker went undefeated at his first three meets of the year, winning both the shot put and weight throw titles at each one. He then reset his own school record in the event at the Illini Classic with a personal-best mark of 68-2 1/4 (20.78m), which earned him Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week honors on Jan. 24. That throw currently ranks third in the Big Ten behind Ohio State's Max Mays (20.88m) and Minnesota's Micah Hegerle (21.73m) while also checking in as the 11th-best mark in the NCAA this season. Fraker will also compete in the shot put, which he ranks ninth in with a PR of 58-4 3/4 (17.80m).
Oz Lifshitz, Triple Jump (Sr., Rishon Lezion, Israel)
After transferring to Illinois from Central Michigan last season, senior Oz Lifshitz scored at his very first Big Ten Championships, taking eighth in the triple jump a year ago. He has won the triple jump title at a pair of meets this season with a bound of 49-3 (15.01m), which currently ranks seventh in the Big Ten.
Matt McHugh, Weight Throw (Sr., Exeter, N.H.)
Despite having his school record broken by freshman teammate Davis Fraker at the first meet of the season, fifth-year senior Matt McHugh has stepped up his game for his final season at Illinois. McHugh launched a throw over 20 meters for the first time in his career at the Illinois Intercollegiate, netting a distance of 66-11 1/2 (20.41m). That mark ranks fifth in the Big Ten and 17th in the nation, giving the Illini a pair of top-five competitors in the event heading into the weekend. This will be the fourth year in a row McHugh will compete in the weight throw after redshirting in 2007.