Illini men’s track face harsher weather at Indiana Gibson State Invitational

By Will Most, Staff writer

Last weekend, Illini men’s track competed in sunny California. This weekend, they will face a new challenge with harsh cold and possible snow in Terra Haute, Indiana.

While the cold bothers the average Illinois student, it presents a much larger issue for Illinois head coach Mike Turk and his team. Running and competing in the cold can lead to more injuries and slower times. If the weather is bad enough, there is a possibility that athletes will be pulled in order to prevent injuries.

“If it’s cold, I’m definitely not looking forward to it,” sprinter Mo Maat said. “I’m really looking to get through healthy.”

Turk would have to potentially sideline Maat, as well as many of the other important sprinters on the team. He’s looking to specifically protect those who have struggled with injuries, and Maat, who was in and out of the indoor line-up due to injuries, fits the bill.

Already short a runner after sprinter Devin Quinn found himself injured at the Stanford Invite, Turk has to be very cautious with his team, especially considering the high amount of red-shirted athletes.

With the possibility of major groups of athletes being pulled from the meet all together, Illinois will have to look to some of its field events for support.

The Illini will compete in the hammer throw for the first time this year. Additionally, the Illinois distance squad will test some of their less experienced runners, giving them an opportunity to prove they deserve a spot on some of the relay teams the Illini are forming for the approaching Drake Relays.

“This is the kind of competition where maybe the bar is not quite as high,” Turk said. “They can kind of relax, get into a grove and make a final.”

Even though the weather may not be all that pleasing, Terra Haute is home to recently renovated facilities which contains a championship quality track. High-end facilities like these usually lead to faster times, but with the poor weather, many Illini might not have the opportunity to chase a personal record.

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