Men's Cross Country, Track & Field
Illini Travel to Missouri for Tom Botts Invitational

Senior Colin Mickow makes his outdoor season debut Saturday at the Tom Botts Invitational.
Senior Colin Mickow makes his outdoor season debut Saturday at the Tom Botts Invitational.

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April 13, 2012

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -The Illinois men's track and field team will head to Columbia, Mo., this Saturday to compete at the Tom Botts Invitational. The scored meet will be held at Audrey J. Walton Stadium and feature squads from Depaul, Iowa and Loyola.

"This weekend will be a little different because some of the guys will take the weekend off," head coach Mike Turksaid. "What we're looking for on Saturday is progression from some of our other guys. It's just really important that they keep their focus each week and try to keep getting better. But overall, I think each event is running and competing well right now and I'm looking forward to seeing the results on Saturday. "

Field events will start at 10 a.m. on Saturday morning while track races will begin at 11 a.m. 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.

Junior Josh Zinzer leads three Illini in the 200m while sophomore Ryan Lynn looks to improve his 400m time on Saturday along with freshman Joe McAsey and two others. Reigning Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week Kyle Engnell will take part in the 800m with senior Chris DeSilva, who opens his outdoor season on Saturday. Sophomore Zebo Zebe will also run the 800m, as he looks to improve his time once again in the event. Senior Colin Mickow runs just his second race this outdoor season as he will lead five Illini in the 1,5000m while two will run the 5,000m. In both the 110m and 400m hurdles, freshman Gary Ford highlights each event. The 4x100m relay will showcase Ford, freshman Maurice Watkins, Zinzer and sophomore Jade Ackerman while the 4x400m relay is expected to feature junior Malcolm Taylor, freshman Josh Jones, McAsey and Lynn.

Five Illini are entered in the pole vault, highlighted by sophomore Cody Klein, making his outdoor debut as well as Matt Bane who took second in the event last year. Second-team All-American Davis Fraker will compete in shot put, discus and the hammer throw along with sophomore Brett Ramirez joining Fraker in the hammer. Sophomore Brett Einbecker and freshman Brandon Noe will both throw the shot put and discus while freshman Branden Tanthavong and Ford will compete in the jumps. Sophomore Ryan Michelwill open his outdoor season in the high jump.

"Matt (Bane) is right on the verge of hitting some big numbers in the vault," Turk said. "Each of the last two weeks he's gotten quite a bit better. Also, we want to see Davis (Fraker) and Brandon (Noe) keep improving and moving forward. Our field events crew is going to be a bit better than it was indoors."

Full results and a recap can be found on following the completion of the event.  The Illini will split next weekend as some will compete at the Mt. Sac Relays in Walnut, Calif., April 19-21 while others will travel to Fayetteville, Ark., for the John McDonnell Invitational, April 20-21.