Illini Open Outdoor Season at Conference Challenge
March 21, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- After finishing the indoor season just a couple weeks ago, the Illinois men's track and field team begin the outdoor season by competing in the Conference Challenge in Starkville, Miss., hosted by Mississippi State. The meet features six teams in a conference showdown at the Bulldogs' Carl Maddox Track Facility. Teams include Tennessee, Ole Miss, Louisiana Tech, Purdue and Wisconsin.
"We are excited about opening up our outdoor season at Mississippi State," assistant coach Adrian Wheatley said. "We had a successful cross country and indoor seasons and are looking to continuing this trend. We have several events we are excited to see our guys compete in this outdoor season."
Scoring at the meet will follow the international system and will be as follows: in each event, first place will be awarded 10 points, second will denote eight points, third receives six points, fourth gains four points, fifth equals two points and sixth place will get one point. At the end of competition, all points will be pooled together by conference, and a men's team champion will be named.
The 4x100m relay start its 2013 campaign with two athletes returning from last year's NCAA finalist team. All -American Brandon Stryganek and DJ Zahn will start the relay while junior Julian Smith and Vanier Joseph will round out this weekend's relay squad.
"This year's relay pool is deep," Wheatley said. "We will see several different personnel running early to put the best team on the track for late spring."
Joseph, a 2013 NCAA indoor 60m hurdles qualifier will also compete in the 110m hurdles with teammate Cameron Viney. Viney will also compete later on in the afternoon in the 400m hurdles along with freshman Peter Bremhorst who redshirted the indoor season.
"We have been preparing for the 400m hurdles as best as we could during the fall and indoor season," Wheatley said. "However there is nothing like getting out and sprinting 400m over 10 hurdles. This is an event which requires race rhythm, therefore we will compete this event often to establish that quality rhythm."
This weekend will also allow many guys an opportunity to compete in some off events in preparation for their main event lasted in the season. Distance Medley Relay All-American Stephon Pamilton along with Zahn, Smith and sophomore Jade Ackerman will compete in the 100m and 200m for the Orange and Blue. Stryganek will also bump up the distance and run the open 400m.
"The guys have been having fun with this for the last couple weeks," Wheatley said. "It's a great way to open up the season with some 100m, 200m, and 400m races."
Six Illini will compete in the pole vault as junior Matt Bane looks to improve upon a successful indoor season in which he finished runner-up at the Big Ten meet. Sophomore Brandon Noe is looking to improve marks in the shot put and the discus. Davis Fraker will join Noe in the shot put while also compete in the hammer throw. Senior Steve Monte leads the trio of Illini in the javelin and he was a Big Ten point scorer in the event last outdoor season.
Action in Starkville begins on Friday at 4 p.m. with the hammer throw and resumes on Saturday at 11 a.m. with men's javelin.
The Illini will travel to West Lafayette, Ind., next weekend to compete in the Mike Poehlein Invitational on March 29-30.