Track and field teams make outdoor debut at SIU


Elisabeth Neely

Mo Maat sprints up behind Devin Quinn to hand off the baton for the last dash in the 4×100 Meter Relay at Illinois Twilight at the Illinois Track Field on April 22. Quinn completed his senior campaign after multiple successes, taking away records like the fastest men’s 100-meter in the Big Ten conference and Illinois history.

By Claire O'Brien, Staff writer

The Illinois men’s track and field team competed at Southern Illinois University Friday and Saturday to begin the outdoor track season.

Senior sprinter Devin Quinn and the distance medley relay team competed in the NCAA Indoor Championship March 8-9, while the rest of the team saw their indoor seasons conclude at the Big Ten meet February 22-23.

Saturday, freshman Declan Rustay finished first in the 100-meter dash with a time of 10.78 seconds and sophomore Jason Shannon finished second coming in at 10.79 seconds. 

“It was a pretty cool feeling knowing that two Illinois kids went one and two,” Rustay said. “Hopefully, we can keep doing that throughout the season.”

The Illini also saw strong performances from junior pole vaulter Jacob LaRocca, who won the pole vault with a height of 4.80 meters. Freshman pole vaulter Jack Pompe finished behind him in third.

The men’s 4×100-meter relay, consisting of Shannon, Rustay, senior sprinter Joe Haight and senior sprinter Devin Quinn finished in first with a time of 39.59 seconds. The 4×400-meter relay, which included Haight and Rustay, as well as senior middle distance runner Konrad Eiring and freshman Jaden Jackson, also finished first with a time of 3:19.26.

After plenty of podium places across the board, head coach Michael Turk thought the team was off to a solid start for the outdoor season.

“Everything that we do in preparation is kind of a continual thing,” Turk said. “Everything’s part of a progression.”

The women’s team began their outdoor season with a meet at Southern Illinois University last Friday and Saturday, as well. There were no team scores but the Illini had a few standout performances.

The Illini performed well in the distance races, and sophomore distance runner Nicki Cast finished in first in the 1500-meter run with a time of 4:36.85, beating her previous personal best last season of 4:39.90. Junior distance runner Grace Rogers finished fifth in the event with a time of 4:40.96, and won the second heat.

Cast said that the 1500-meter run was different from the mile she’s accustomed to running in indoor track.

“I personally feel like the 1500 (meter run) is way more fun,” Cast said. “Even though it’s 100 meters shorter, it seems like a totally different race.”

Freshman long jumper Camille Osborne finished third in the long jump with a jump of 5.52 meters. Other notable results for the Illini included four pole vaulters finishing in the top four. Freshman pole vaulter Kristin Slaughter finished first, junior Carolyn Nye finished second, junior pole vaulter and sprinter Chisom Nwoko finished third, and freshman Josie Held finished fourth in the event.

Junior sprinter Felicia Phillips won the 400-meter dash with a time of 55.96 seconds, while the women’s distance medley relay consisting of Phillips, freshman Brooke Delahanty, sophomore Mikaela Lucki and junior Vanessa Flaherty took first.

Turk said that, like the men, the women also had a strong start to the outdoor season and credited the team’s work ethic over the last several weeks.

“I think the health of our team is pretty good right now,” Turk said. “We went through the weekend very well, so I know that tells me people have been preparing well.”


[email protected]