Illini wins seven event titles at Wisconsin Midwest Invitational

CHICAGO- The Illinois men’s and women’s track teams opened the 2022 indoor season with seven event wins and recorded eight second-place finishes at the Wisconsin Midwest Invitational on Saturday, Jan. 15 at the Gately Indoor Track.

“It was a great season opener,” said the head coach Mike Turkish. “The Gately track was a good venue and we were thrilled to compete in front of so many fans, it was almost like a home meet. I was very happy to see the contributions from all the event groups. We are becoming more balanced and improving, especially in the field trials Our veterans were solid and showed leadership and many of our newcomers had exceptional openings.

“We weren’t perfect, but there is a lot to improve. Our competitiveness was essential and what you want to see early often and always. I’m already proud of this team!”

The Illini started the day with a solid showing in the field events, including their first one-two of the competition as a rookie Tacorie Humphrey won the women’s high jump with a score of 1.71 on her first attempt, with a graduate student Christine Higgins comes second after registering a mark of 1.71m on his second attempt.

First-year student Tori Thomas was also impressive on her college debut with a second-place finish after clearing 3.96m in the women’s pole vault, while senior Camille Osborne set a personal best 5.51m (18-1) to place second in the women’s long jump.

For men, seniors reed marshal earned a second-place finish with a jump of 13.95m in the men’s triple jump, while the juniors Tyler Sudduth had a remarkable day setting a personal best 18.41 in the men’s shot put to finish second, his mark ranking fifth in program history.

Six of Illini’s seven event titles came in race events as UI dominated the mile as a senior Emma Milburn (4:50.27) and Junior jack robert (4:11.38) each took first place in the event, while freshman Halle Hill (4:50.28) and redshirt-junior Colin Yandel (4:11.40) both placed second in the race.

After achieving a personal best 7.96 in the preliminaries, senior Bret Dannis won the men’s 60m hurdles with a time of 7.99, while freshman William Merrick put up another strong performance for the Illini rookies, taking first place in the men’s 600m with a time of 1.20.35.

Bret Dannis over hurdles has shown great improvement and he looks set for a great season,” Turk said.Tyler Sudduth had an indoor personal best in the shot put that propelled him to the all-time top ten list. Tori Thomas was impressive in her college debut with a second in the women’s pole vault. I was really happy with the 1-2 high jump finish with Tacorie Humphrey and Christine Higgins. We’ve improved so much in that area.”

Second year Olivia Howel continued where she left off in 2021 by taking first place in the women’s 800m with a time of 2:09.63, with a rookie Nicholas Dovalovsky second in the men’s 800m after clocking 1:52.35.

The Illini then concluded the day with victory in the men’s 4×400 relay while the junior team Robert Williams, first-year student DeVontae Ford, junior Jason Thormo and red shirt-junior King Kashief won the race with a time of 3:13.61.

Illinois Event Champions
Women’s high jump: Tacorie Humphrey // 1.71m (5-07.25)
1 thousand women: Emma Milburn // 4:50.27
1 thousand men: jack robert // 4:11.38
800m women: Olivia Howel // 2:09.63
600m men: William Merrick // 1:20.35
60m hurdles men: Bret Dannis // 7.99
Relay 4×400 men: Robert Williams, DeVontae Ford, Jason Thormo, King Kashief // 3:13.61

Illinois will next host the Illini Invitational at the UI Armory on January 21-22.

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Joseph K. Bennett