Men take first, set number of career-bests

By Erin Foley

As the Illinois men’s track and field team took first place in Saturday’s Carle/Health Alliance Classic at the Illinois Armory, a number of Illini secured career-best performances. The end result had Illinois defeating top competitor Alabama by a score of 189 to 140, but it was some of the individual scores that were equally impressive.

“There were moments when I was kind of concerned,” said head coach Wayne Angel, “but some of our athletes stepped up, they rose to the occasion.”

In the middle of the meet, senior Tramell Smith made history as he set a new Armory indoor track record for the 600-meter run. Smith’s personal-best time of 1:17.00 surpassed former-Illini Zach Glavash’s mark of 1:17.31. Smith, who said there is still a long way to go, was only .04 off the school all-time best record.

“I was hoping he could have set the school record today, he missed it by 4 hundredths of a second, but he’ll get another chance,” Angel said. “The way Tramell is running right now, he’s probably going to be one of the better 800-meter runners in the country.”

The Illini continued to take advantage of their home-track advantage in the 60-meter hurdles. Seniors Andre English, Abe Jones and Anthony Young swept the top-three, with times of 7.93, 7.98 and 8.09, respectively. While happy with his finish, English said though that he is ready to “go 7.8.” Senior Bryan Pratt finished sixth for the Illini in the heat with a time of 8.21.

The seniors continued their dominance in the meet as Eric Disilvestro set a new personal best of 17’01.00″ in the pole vault. His mark was one foot higher than any other competitor and allowed him to provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships in March in Arkansas.

“Well, qualifying’s nice,” he said. “I’ve been trying to qualify all year; it’s another step on the way to nationals.”

Sophomore John Adamczyk finished in second with a vault of 16’00.75″, while sophomore Nick Brown placed first in the triple jump with a jump of 49’03.50″ and sophomore Brad Simmons added another first-place finish with his jump of 6’05.50″ in the high jump.

In the final event, the 4×400 meter relay, the team came away with a 3:12.5 finish, just missing the provisionally qualifying time of 3:12.00.

“(You) can’t get a victory and not be happy about it,” senior Tramell Smith said. “This was the last time I was going to be running on this track in a home meet, I had to go out with a bang, there was no way I was going to let my last race be a loss.”

On its way to defeating South Alabama, Missouri Baptist, Southeast Missouri State and Western Illinois, Illinois freshman Dominique Worsley ran a personal best of 21.54 in the 200-meters to take first and senior Nathan Vadeboncoeur finished in second-place in the 400-meters with a time of 48.17. Senior Tim Hobbs grabbed a first-place finish in the 1,000-meter run with a time of 2:25.28, while junior Trent Hoerr won the 3,000-meter run with an 8:17.63.

Next weekend, the Illini will once again split up as the distance team will travel to Notre Dame to compete in the Meyo Invitational, while the rest of the team will travel to Manhattan, New York for the New Balance Invite on Feb. 3-4.