Men’s track keeps improving

 

 

By Kevin Olsen

There were no first-place finishes for the Illinois men’s track and field team this weekend, but it turned out an impressive performance nonetheless at the Frank Sevigne Husker Invitational. The Illini had four top-three finishers in a loaded field that featured five top-15 teams, including No. 1 Florida State.

“We had some solid performances today and the fact that we’re continuing to improve makes me happy,” head coach Wayne Angel said in a press release. “We are definitely moving in the right direction, but we still have work to do.”

The best finish for an Illini came from Brian Beaird in the 800 meters. The sophomore finished second in a field of 24 runners with a personal best time of 1 minute, 52.21 seconds.

Junior All-American Lesiba Masheto finished a competitive 400-meter final in third place with a time of 47.07 seconds, slightly off the pace of first-place finisher Elias Koech’s of Texas-El Paso time of 46.85 seconds and Florida State’s Charles Clark, who finished just ahead of Masheto with a time of 47.03.

More importantly, Masheto ran a fast enough time to provisionally qualify for Nationals. He reached the mark Friday in preliminaries with a time of 47.13 before improving on that mark in the final Saturday. This was just the second time this year Masheto ran the 400 meters, his best event.

Masheto was also a part of the 4×400 relay team that ran the fastest time in the Big Ten this season at 3:11.06. It finished second behind Baylor, last year’s indoor national champion in the 4×400.

After not qualifying for the finals in the 60- or 200-meter races, sophomore Dominique Worsley ran his fastest time of the season in the 200 on Saturday, winning the consolation final with a time of 21.60 seconds.

“I’m working on getting my times back down to where they were,” Worsley said.

“I’m glad I’m improving every weekend. I know that I can compete with the best in the nation. It’s just a matter of getting my times down to where they were so I can compete with them.”

The Illini also captured a solid finish from the distance medley relay team.

It was the first time Illinois has run the event this year, and the tandem of Dan Kremske, Scott Phelps, Tim Entwistle and Rob Pykosz finished third with a time of 10:28:43.

Other top finishers include junior Andrew Zollner in the heptathlon. Zollner finished fourth with 4,809 points, including an indoor personal-best mark in the pole vault at 16 feet, 6.5 inches.

Illinois will travel to New York City next weekend for the New Balance Invitational but will not be bringing their entire squad.

“Every week keeps getting better,” Worsley said.

“It’s great. A lot of the new guys are getting used to competing in good competition also and that’s good.”