Illinois men’s track & field hosts first home meet of 2023 outdoor season

By Said Nonoal, Contributing Writer

Illinois men’s track and field is set to make its outdoor home debut on Saturday as they look to take on a number of Midwestern programs. Illinois will host the meet at Demrijian Park, with field events kicking off at 11 a.m. and track events beginning at noon.

Illinois will host 14 programs, including nine Midwest division rivals and four Big Ten rivals. The programs include Bradley, Butler, DePaul, Eastern Illinois, Illinois Chicago, Iowa, Loyola Chicago, Milwaukee, Northern Illinois, Northern Iowa, Northwestern, Purdue, Saint Louis and Southern Illinois University in Edwardsville.

It is week two in the outdoor NCAA track and field season and coming into this meet, and the Illini are ranked No. 11 in the Midwest region.

Big Ten rival Purdue will present a tough team to compete with, as they are currently ranked No. 6 in the Great Lakes region. Another notable opponent includes No. 12 Iowa in the 400 meter hurdle relay squad, as their team holds the top-ranked time for the event, with a 3:30 time, averaging 52.52 seconds per runner. Iowa is also coming into this meet with a top 10 nationally ranked 800-meter relay squad. The Hawkeyes will present a notable challenge for all the programs competing.

Notable top individual performers for the Illini include sophomore All-American Tyler Sudduth for all throwing events. Sudduth has emerged as a top performer for the shotput, hammer and discus throw.

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Another Illini to keep an eye on is freshman long sprinter Tadeas Placek as he currently holds the 13th best time in the nation in the 800 meter with a 1:53 flat.

One of the top nationally ranked performers includes Junior long sprinter Kashief King who is coming off a personal best performance at the Rafer Johnson/Jackie Joyner-Kersee invite in Los Angeles. King finished the 200 meters with a 21.47 personal record.

Junior sprinter Jason Thormo is also coming off a personal best performance in Los Angeles. Thormo finished with a 46.88 personal record in the 400 meter dash. He will look to continue his strong performance at home this weekend in Champaign.

The Illini are currently ranked last against all Big Ten rivals in the Midwest region. However, more importantly, the Illini will look to gain points against their Midwest rivals. With a good performance, the Illini could gain on a couple of Midwest rivals and move up the rankings.

The Illini look to improve as they capped off their indoor season with an 11th place performance at the Big Ten Indoor Championships. The team has plenty to prove in the early part of the outdoor season. They will have to face a combination of Midwestern and Big Ten rivals.



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