Davis, Howell highlight Illinois track & field’s efforts at Big Ten Indoor Championships


Photo courtesy of Illini Athletics

Junior Olivia Howell runs during her event at Big Ten Indoor Championship on Saturday. The Illini placed 10th at the meet with eight athletes receiving All-Big Ten honors.

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

The Illini wrapped up the indoor season as a team at the SPIRE Institute this weekend as both the men’s and women’s teams placed 10th in the Big Ten Indoor Championships meet with 34 and 30 points, respectively.

The Illini won three event titles and had eight athletes receive All-Big Ten honors.

Graduate student Jon Davis helped win two of the three event titles, taking first place in the mile with a time of 4:08, and he was the final leg in the men’s distance medley relay.

“It’s definitely an honor,” Davis said after becoming the first Illini to win the men’s mile since 1975.

Davis has worked hard for five years to get to the title, which he credits to “staying healthy and practicing consistency.”

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Davis also was appreciative of his teammates in the distance medley relay.

“I think everyone in the relay needs to believe that they can hand-off first and then stay competitive,” Davis said. “Because I know several Big Ten teams will be going to the NCAA meet.”

The relay team definitely stayed competitive, taking home first with a time of 9:35. The final event title was won by junior Olivia Howell, who continues to win the mile event in every meet that she competes in.

This was Howell’s second year in a row winning the women’s mile title in the Big Ten as she crossed the finish line comfortably with a time of 4:33.

Howell and Davis were both placed on the All-Big Ten first team with teammates freshman Nicolas Dovalovsky, redshirt junior Kashief King and freshman William Merrick. Junior Jessica McDowell, freshman Sam Poglitsch and junior Tracy Towns also were honored on the all-conference second team after excellent performances.

With seven of the eight athletes returning next year, the future only gets brighter for the Illini program.

Minnesota won the meet on the women’s side despite not being ranked. The team totaled 102 points, finishing above No. 13 Ohio State (94 points) and No. 19 Penn State (85 points), who rounded out the top three.

For the men, No. 8 Iowa placed first for the second year in a row after tallying 117 points, beating Ohio State (102 points).

Following this meet, all qualifying athletes from the Illini will compete in the 2022 NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships in Birmingham, Alabama, on Mar. 11 and 12. This meet will be broadcasted on ESPN3.

After that, the rest of the team will prepare for the outdoor track & field season, which begins on Mar. 25 in Oxford, Mississippi, at the Ole Miss Classic.



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