Illinois men’s track places second at Gibson Invitational
April 10, 2016
Tweet: [email protected] fought tough weather to place second in the Gibson Invitational with young core. #Illini
With awful on-and-off weather this past weekend, Illinois men’s track head coach Michael Turk almost withdrew his team from the Indiana State Gibson Invitational. Turk repeatedly mulled over pulling specific runners or his team altogether from the meet.
But looking back, Turk is glad he decided to stay as the Illini won six event titles and took second place overall.
“I’m really pleased with how everything turned out,” Turk said. “We had a bunch of guys we had to get out there and get a meet under their belt and see what they look like.”
Turk also feels like the weekend served as an excellent way to prepare for future events with bad weather, which could be useful in future Midwest meets.
The team was led by many underclassmen who put up some very encouraging times for Turk. Mo Maat and Cole Henderson, both sophomore sprinters, each earned a title in the 100-meter dash and 200-meter dash, respectively.
Other young members of the team found success with athletes like Trevor Kuehr, Isaiah Michl, Keveion Akins and Cole Henderson all earning first-place finishes. Michl’s first-place finish was his first collegiate race.
“This was a different kind of environment from what we were in last week or will be next week,” Turk said. “Several of our young guys had just outstanding days.”
While the weekend offered a lot of positives, Illinois’ competition wasn’t at the caliber future meets will hold for the team later in the season.
The meet offered the team an opportunity to gain some confidence and gather momentum as it prepares to go into a tough stretch of the season. The Illini could have taken the week off, but instead opted to challenge themselves in Indiana this weekend.
The Illini will compete in a three-day meet next week in California. While the meets won’t have many big names competing, they offer more experience for a team that is trying to sort out their identity.AR