Junior Kyle Engnell is ranked first in the 3,000m steeplechase heading into Big Tens.
May 11, 2011
2011 Big Ten Outdoor Track & Field Championships
Friday, May 13 - Sunday, May 15
Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track // Iowa City, Iowa
The Fighting Illini men's track and field team will head to Iowa City, Iowa, this weekend for the Big Ten Outdoor Championships from Friday, May 13 through Sunday, May 15 at Iowa's Francis X. Cretzmeyer Track. The meet begins on Friday morning with the pole vault at 11 a.m. followed by the start of the decathlon at noon and the hammer throw at 1:30 p.m. The 10,000m final will close out the first day of competition, beginning at 9:15 p.m. Saturday action resumes at 9:30 a.m. with finals in the decathlon, long jump, high jump, discus and 3,000m steeplechase along with trials in the running events. The remaining field events finals (shot put, triple jump and javelin) will all be held on Sunday, with the running finals scheduled to begin at 12:55 p.m. with the 4x100m relay and end at 3:45 p.m. with the 4x400m relay. A full Big Ten roster and schedule of Illini entries can be found in the attached PDF.
Heading into the championships, Illinois is ranked first in the Big Ten in four events, including both hurdles races. Five-time Big Ten champion Andrew Riley boasts the top time in the 110 meter hurdles (13.61), while senior Cody Wisslead owns the fastest 400m hurdles mark (50.73). Junior Kyle Engnell, a two-time scorer in the steeplechase, enters the meet as the top seed with his personal-best mark of 8:48.45. The 4x100m relay of Riley, Azeez Shogbuyi, Josh Zinzer and Stanley Azie is also seeded first with its school-record time of 39.17.
Live updates from the meet will be posted to the @IlliniTrackXC Twitter account. The 2011 Big Ten Outdoor Track and Field Championships also will be televised tape-delayed by the Big Ten Network on Sunday, May 22 at noon CT. Tom Werme and Craig Virgin will be on the call.
Illinois History at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships
Illinois has won a total of 28 Big Ten outdoor team titles since the championships started in 1901, ranking second only to Michigan's 31 titles. The last time the Fighting Illini won the outdoor team title was in 1994 under former head coach Gary Wieneke. This year marks the second conference championship with interim head coach Mike Turk at the helm.
At the 2010 Big Ten Outdoor Championships hosted by Indiana, Illinois placed sixth following a stellar weekend from Andrew Riley. The Kingston, Jamaica, native won his first career outdoor titles, taking first in the 100m and 110m hurdles, and led off the runner-up 4x100m relay. Cody Wisslead and Stanley Azie were the next highest scorers for the Illini, tallying 11 points each. Wisslead took third in the 400m hurdles and finished fourth in the 110m hurdles while Azie was fourth in the 100m, fifth in the 200m and the anchor on the second-place 4x100m relay. The Illini also received a breakout performance from Colin Mickow in the 10,000m, who reached the podium with a third-place finish.
Interim Head Coach Mike Turk on the Big Ten Outdoor Championships:
"We want to continue to improve which has been a focus for the last year and a half. I feel good about our preparation and the guys have done a great job this year of doing things the right way. They have conducted their business the way we've asked them to and are well prepared both physically and mentally. We have a couple guys who can step up and do something special, and we have a whole bunch of guys who can contribute and play their role. We just want to stay focused on our events and put forth our best performances."
Big Ten Indoor Championships Recap
Illinois, who hosted the meet at the UI Armory, boasted a pair of Big Ten champions at the indoor conference meet and placed seventh in a loaded field. Junior Andrew Riley won the 60m hurdles for the third year in a row while freshman Matthew Bane became Illinois' first Big Ten pole vault champion since 2000 after winning the event with a personal-best height of 17-3 ¾ (5.28m).
Illini Athletes to Watch:
Andrew Riley, Sprints / Hurdles (Jr., Kingston, Jamaica)
Riley, who was named the 2010 Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year, is the defending champion in a pair of events (100m, 110m hurdles) after capturing his first career outdoor titles a year ago. Riley won the Big Ten title in his signature event, the 110m hurdles, before eventually becoming the national champion in the event after racing to a personal-best mark of 13.45 at the NCAA Outdoor Championships last June. He is currently ranked first in conference and ninth in the nation in the hurdles with his season-best time of 13.61, which he ran at his outdoor opener at the LSU Invitational. He twice timed 13.63 in his two other races, which included a victory at the Sea Ray Relays, where he was named outstanding performer of the meet, and a fourth-place finish in the special invitational at the Drake Relays, where he was the only collegian selected to compete. Riley also will lead off the top seed 4x100m relay squad that broke the school record (39.17) and run the 100m dash, where he holds the conferences fifth-best time of 10.52.
The Kingston, Jamaica, native is coming off an undefeated indoor season in the 60m hurdles. He capped off the year by winning his second NCAA title while also picking up his fifth career All-America accolade. At the Big Ten Indoor Championships, he made it a three-peat in the hurdles by winning the Big Ten title for the third consecutive year.
110m Hurdles - Personal-Best: 13.45 (6/12/10) // Season-Best: 13.61 (4/2/11)
100m - Personal-Best: 10.52 (4/2/11 & 5/15/10)
4x100m Relay (Andrew Riley, Azeez Shogbuyi, Josh Zinzer, Stanley Azie)
The Illini 4x100m relay is the top seed heading into the Big Ten Championships after breaking the school record at the Drake Relays with a time of 39.17, which currently ranks fifth in the NCAA. The foursome, which won Illinois' first Drake 4x100m relay title since 1953, eclipsed the school record by nearly half a second, running .42 seconds faster than the old mark of 39.59 set in 1993. The Orange and Blue relay tallied runner-up finishes at the previous two Big Ten Championships and last won the Big Ten event title in 1997. The Illini relay returns three of it four legs (Riley, Shogbuyi, Azie) which advanced to the NCAA Championships a year ago and has a healthy Josh Zinzer, who missed the majority of the postseason as a freshman due to a hamstring injury.
4x100m - Season-Best: 39.17 (4/30/11) *school record
Cody Wisslead, Hurdles (Sr., Sciota, Ill.)
Heading into this weekend's meet, Wisslead is the top seed in the 400m hurdles following his season-best mark of 50.73 at the Drake Relays, which is currently 13th on the NCAA descending order list. The Sciota, Ill., native, who also will run on the 4x400m relay, has dropped his time in the event during each of his three races this season. Last season at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, he was the second-best individual scorer for the Illini behind Riley, as he took third in the 400m hurdles and fourth in the 110m hurdles to score 11 points for the Orange and Blue.
400m Hurdles - Personal-Best: 50.33 (5/28/10) // Season-Best: 51.60 (4/17/10)
Kyle Engnell, Distance (Jr., Homer Glen, Ill.)
Engnell, who has placed seventh in the 3,000m steeplechase at each of the previous Big Ten Outdoor Championships, will enter the weekend as the top seed in the event. The junior clocked the sixth-fastest time (8:48.45) in UI history during his runner-up performance at the Mt. SAC Relays. He also ran just four seconds shy of his PR at the Drake Relays, where he earned a victory lap at the prestigious meet following his steeplechase win with a time of 8:52.93.
3,000m Steeplechase - Personal-Best: 8:48.45 (4/10/10)
Stanley Azie, Sprints (Jr., Bolingbrook, Ill.)
Azie, who scored in both sprinting events last season at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, is ranked among the top six in the conference heading into this weekend's meet. He clocked a personal-best 100m time of 10.53 at the Tom Botts Invitational and a season-best 200m time of 21.12 at the Sea Ray Relays, which is seeded sixth and fifth in the conference, respectively. Last season, Azie placed fourth in the 100m and fifth in the 200m. The junior also anchors the top-seeded 4x100m relay, which broke the school record at the Drake Relays and was the runner-up at the last two Big Ten Championships.
100m - Personal-Best: 10.53 (4/8/11)
200m - Personal-Best: 20.94 (4/30/10) // Season-Best: 21.12 (4/13/11)
4x400m Relay (Shane Daniel, Cody Wisslead, Malcolm Taylor, Dan Jones)
Illinois is looking to win the final event of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships for the first time since 2007. The Orange and Blue will run three seniors in Daniel, Wisslead and Jones along with the sophomore Taylor. That foursome combined for Illinois' top time this season of 3:11.58 at the Drake Relays, which places them sixth on the conference list. Last season, the Orange and Blue finished sixth in the event while the Jones is the only remaining member of the runner-up squad from 2009.
4x400m - Season-Best: 3:11.58 (4/30/11)
Matthew Bane, Pole Vault (Fr., Rochester, Ill.)
Bane made an immediate impact for the Illini at his first Big Ten competition, winning the Big Ten title in the pole vault at the indoor conference meet in February. During high school, he was an Illinois state champion in the event, placing just ahead of teammate Cody Klein at the state meet. The freshman notched his top outdoor mark at the Drake Relays after clearing a height of 16-10 3/4 (5.15m), which currently ranks sixth in the conference.
Pole Vault - Season-Best: 16-10 3/4 (5.15m)
Matt McHugh, Hammer Throw (Sr., Exeter, N.H.)
McHugh, the school-record holder in the hammer throw, has scored in the event at each of his three previous Big Ten meets. The senior has improved his finish at the conference meet with each season after taking eighth in 2008, sixth in 2009 and fifth last season. He opened this outdoor campaign with his best mark of the season, notching a distance of 187-9 (57.22m) at the SEC/Big Ten Challenge.
Hammer Throw - Personal-Best: 202-10; 61.83m (4/2/10) // Season-Best: 187-9; 57.22m (3/26/11)
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