Men’s track stumbles at Big Tens; Worsley sets new UI 60-meter dash record

By Kevin Olsen

In what turned out to be a somewhat disappointing meet, Dominique Worsley was one of the bright spots for the Illinois men’s track and field team after setting a new school record.

Worsley finished fourth in the 60-meter dash at the Big Ten Championships in Madison, Wis., in a time of 6.72 seconds for a new school record. He also finished fifth in the 200 meters with a time of 21.79 seconds.

“I’m happy with running under 6.75. It’s where I wanted to be considering I’m coming off a year-long injury,” Worsley said. “It’s really good that I’m running that time because it shows I can keep dropping, and it’s a pretty good position going into next week.”

Head coach Wayne Angel said he was hoping to finish in the top half of the Big Ten, but his Illini took seventh place with 55 points. Host Wisconsin took the meet with 127 points, easily outdistancing second-place Purdue (102).

“I wasn’t very happy with the overall performance,” Angel said. “Our goal was to be a top-five team and things didn’t go our way.”

But that was not the only disappointing news for Illinois. Junior All-American Gakologelwang Masheto will be out for the remainder of the indoor track season.

While Masheto was still able to provide Illinois with its only first-place finish, winning the 400 meters, his foot has been bothering him for the past month and will put him on the shelf until he is healthy. Angel said he does not want to risk further injury.

Masheto was scratched from the 4×400 relay after he continued to feel foot pain but was still able to run the 400-meter final, which he won in a time of 47.23 seconds.

“He wanted to go out there and help his team,” Angel said, impressed by Masheto’s determination.

It was a slow start on Saturday that inevitably put the Illini too far out of the mix to gain enough ground on Sunday. They scored only 10 points on the first day, led by the fourth-place finish of the distance medley relay team and a sixth-place finish by Nick Brown in the long jump. Brown also finished fourth in the triple jump.

Illinois could never find enough momentum to change its fate during the last day of competition, despite some good, individual performances. Gary Miller took third place in the 600 meters, Greg Shroka finished in fifth place in the high jump while freshman Josh Gist crossed the line in fifth place in the 60-meter hurdles.

“We didn’t as a team, overall, perform to our potential,” Worsley said. “It was a disappointment, but it happens. We are a really young team and that’s a good thing because we have a lot of guys coming back.”

Illinois will travel next weekend to Iowa State for a last-chance qualifying meet before indoor Nationals.