Illini men’s track and field use weekend to compete and train

By Will Small

The Illinois men’s track and field team showed strong results in a competitive field at the Indiana Relays on Friday. Illinois sent just a small group of distance and middle-distance runners to the meet, which featured Indiana and Louisville.

After three straight meets to start the semester, the rest of the team spent the weekend idle.

“We had some fine performances this weekend, and we accomplished what we wanted to,” head coach Mike Turk said.

Jannis Toepfer was one of the Illini standouts. He placed first in the 3,000 meter with a time of 8 minutes, 11.90 seconds, and was pleased with his performance after not getting the result he wanted last weekend in the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet in Louisville, Kentucky.

“Jannis really had a nice comeback from his race last week, and put out a nice performance that we know he’s capable of,” Turk said.

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Another solid showing for Illinois was in the mile, where Liam Markham finished sixth. Sophomore Malik Lee beat his previous career indoor best in the 600 meters.

“For the younger guys, especially in the distance crew, we feel like we have so much quality depth that we need to seek out opportunities for them, and it’s a big important part of their development,” Turk said.

For the athletes who didn’t compete, the weekend was a chance to rest.

“The guys were ready for a physical and mental check down and being able to regenerate,” Turk said. “We had some really good training sessions this past week.”

Up next for the Illini are two pivotal meets, the Frank Sevigne Husker Invite in Lincoln, Nebraska, and the Iowa State Classic in Ames, Iowa. Turk believes the combination of competing and training will bode well for his team.

“We have two very big weekends coming up now and this was just a really good weekend for those guys to get a break,” Turk said. “We’re going to be very pleased with this weekend down the road.” .

Will can be reached at [email protected].