Illini to Face Top Competition at LSU's Battle On The Bayou
April 5, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois men's track and field team will face its toughest competition yet as they head to Baton Rouge, La., this Saturday to compete at LSU's Battle on the Bayou while senior Kyle Engnell will compete at the Stanford Invitational tomorrow. The Orange and Blue will square off against host No. 2 LSU, No. 7 Texas Tech, No. 9 Mississippi State, No. 20 Iowa, Connecticut, Houston, Missouri and Penn State at the Bernie Moore Track Stadium. The morning session will begin at 10 a.m. with the field events while the running events start the afternoon session at 1:45 p.m.
"We're really excited for this weekend," head coach Mike Turk said. "The guys have been working very hard and are looking forward to the opportunity to compete against great competition. For some of our top guys, they will either be opening up their season or competing in their main events for the first time this outdoor season. Andrew (Riley) in the hurdles, Joe (McAsey) and Ryan (Lynn) in the 800m, Stanley (Azie) in the 100 and 200 and our 4x100 relay team with Riley, Brandon (Stryganek), Josh (Zinzer) and Azie. We will also have Kyle (Engnell) opening up his season in the steeplechase at Stanford this weekend. We're geared up for big performances."
Senior Andrew Riley will make his outdoor debut for the Orange and Blue, as he will race for the first time since competing in the 60m and 60m hurdles at the NCAA Indoor Championships a few weeks ago. The Kingston, Jamaica, native will face stiff competition in the 110m hurdles, including LSU's Barrett Nugent, who was third in the national 60m hurdles final and won the 110m hurdles during the outdoor season last June. The two-time national champion will also run the 200m and lead off the 4x100m relay.
Senior Stanley Azie along with freshmen Brandon Stryganek and Jade Ackerman will run the 100m and will accompany Riley in the 200m. Freshman D.J. Zahn will also run the 200m and will be the lone Illini competing in the 400m as he tries to improve upon his season-best 400m time set last weekend.
Freshman Joe McAsey opens his outdoor season in the 800m with tough competition as three runners in the Minooka, Ill., native's heat have qualified for the NCAA Championships. Sophomore's Ryan Lynn and Zebo Zebe along with junior Malcolm Taylor will join McAsey in the 800m while seniors Dan Kresmke and Nate Bohne will run the 1,500m on Saturday.
Field event athletes scheduled to compete include school record holder freshman Davis Fraker along with junior Brett Ramirez will compete in the hammer throw with Fraker also throwing the shot put. Both senior Brett Einbecker and freshman Brandon Noe will compete in the discus and shot put while senior Alex Baldwin, junior Josh Hodur and sophomore Matt Bane will look to take home the pole vault title. A pair of freshmen are scheduled to compete in the jumps as Gary Ford will take part in the long jump while Branden Tanthavong will enter the meet in the triple jump.
Teams will be competing with the standard NCAA Championships scoring format of 10-8-6-5-4-3-2-1, as 10 points will be awarded to the first-place finisher down to one point being awarded to the eighth-place finisher in each individual event. Additionally, one relay for each squad entered in the meet will be allowed to score in both the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay.
Senior Kyle Engnell will compete in his first 3,000m steeplechase this season at the Stanford Invitational tomorrow. The two-time Big Ten point scorer in the event looks to improve his personal-best, as the race begins at 7:48 p.m. CT.
Live stats for the LSU meet will be linked on fightingillini.com along with full results and a recap following the competition. The Illini will travel to Columbia, Mo., next weekend for the Tom Botts Invitational hosted by the University of Missouri, April 13-14.