Casey Fonnesbeck will compete in the shot put at the Yellow Jacket Invitational, the team's outdoor season opener.
March 25, 2010
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Following a week of training after the NCAA Indoor Championships, the Illinois men's track and field team opens up the outdoor season at this weekend's Yellow Jacket Invitational, hosted by Georgia Tech. The Illini will compete at the George C. Griffin Track in Atlanta, Ga., on Friday, March 26 and Saturday, March 27.
"This is a great early season meet for us," interim head coach Mike Turk said. "It is a great chance to see some competition we don't normally see, so we are looking forward to it. We brought a small group of athletes, and I expect some pretty good performances."
All-American Andrew Riley has the weekend off, but the Illini send 14 athletes to the competition, with only junior Matt McHugh competing on Friday in the hammer throw and the remaining athletes slated for events on Saturday. Field events begin at 10:30 a.m. on Saturday followed by running events starting at 11:30 a.m.
A pair of Illini, sophomore Stanley Azie and senior Azeez Shogbuyi will double-up in the 100m and 200m, while three Illini will run both the 200m and 400m in juniors Shane Daniel and Dan Jones and freshman Bai Kabba. Freshman Malcolm Taylor also is scheduled for the 400m, and will run the 4x400m relay along with Daniel, Jones and Kabba. Junior Cody Wisslead will compete in the 400m hurdles.
Senior Scott Phelps is listed for the 800m, and three other Illini are slated for distance events in senior Brian Beaird (1,500m), freshman Kyle Engnell (3,000m steeplechase) and Mike Murray (5,000m). In the field events, Casey Fonnesbeck will throw the shot put, and Oz Lifshitz will compete in the triple jump.
Full results and a recap can be found on fightingillini.com after the completion of the meet. The Illini split up for competition at the Florida Relays in Gainesville, Fla., and the Big Blue Classic in Charleston, Ill., next weekend, April 2-3.
NCAA Outdoor Championships Format Update
This season, the NCAA has eliminated the four-region system from the past seven years, meaning the championships will have a brand new format. Instead of a hard-line performance standard to qualify, an absolute, field-size cut-off per event has been instituted, meaning that season-best rank within the region will overshadow the mark itself. The season will be a constant scoreboard watch, as the top 48 per region, that declare, in each individual event and the top 24 relays per region, that declare, will compete at the preliminary sites.
There are no regional standards to qualify this season, and two preliminary sites have replaced the four regionals. The national championship will technically begin May 27-29 in Austin, Texas and Greensboro, N.C., which will be one continuous meet, held in three locations over two separate weekends and concluding in Eugene, Ore., from June 9-12.