Senior Matt McHugh will attempt to earn a bid to nationals when he competes at the NCAA Qualifier on Saturday.
March 3, 2011
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's track and field team will send five athletes to NCAA Last Chance meets this weekend in order to boost their position on the NCAA descending order list and qualify for the NCAA Indoor Championships. A pair of freshmen pole vaulters, Matthew Bane and Cody Klein, will compete on Friday night at 5 p.m. CT at the Alex Wilson Invitational in South Bend, Ind., while junior sprinter Stanley Azie and throwers, freshman Davis Fraker and senior Matt McHugh, are slated to compete on Saturday at Iowa State's NCAA Qualifier.
"The guys competing this weekend have one last shot to qualify for nationals," interim head coach Mike Turk said. "We split them up to give them the best competitive opportunity at their respective meets. They still have some work to do to get to nationals and join Andrew (Riley), who already hit an auto time."
Fresh off a Big Ten victory in the pole vault, Bane is tied for 23rd on the NCAA list with his personal-best mark of 17-3 ¾ (5.28m). Only two vaulters in the nation have hit the NCAA auto standard of 18-0 ½ (5.50m) while the top 16 on the list typically earn a trip to nationals. Klein matched his personal-best height of 16-8 (5.08m) while scoring at the Big Ten Indoor Championships and is No. 65 on the list. Both will be in action at Notre Dame's Loftus Center on Friday evening.
Fraker is in solid position on the NCAA weight throw list, checking in at No. 12 with his school-record mark of 68-2 ½ (20.78m) from the Illini Classic. The Peachtree City, Ga., native will look to earn a trip to nationals in his first career indoor season after reaching the podium in the event at the Big Ten Championships with a third-place finish. McHugh will also try to advance his position up the list, as he currently sits 20th in the country with a personal-best mark of 66-11 ½ (20.41m). Both athletes will be in action at 11:30 a.m. CT at the Lied Recreation Center and trying to hit the NCAA auto mark of 21.50m in the event.
Azie turned in a converted time of 21.16 in the 200m at the Illini Classic, which is No. 44 on the NCAA list. He will compete at 2:45 p.m. CT on Saturday and will attempt to hit the NCAA auto mark of 20.83.
Junior Andrew Riley has already earned a bid to the NCAA Championships after hitting the NCAA auto standard at the Tyson Invitational. The Kingston, Jamaica, native clocked a season-best mark of 7.69 at the meet, which checked in just under the NCAA auto standard of 7.70 and at No. 2 in the nation behind only Texas' Keiron Stewart (7.66).
The NCAA will announce the official championship field on Monday, March 7 by 6 p.m. CT. The NCAA Indoor Championships will be hosted by Texas A&M in College Station from March 11-12.