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Several Illini walk away with medals at Big Ten Championship

Mo+Maat+sprints+up+behind+Devin+Quinn+to+hand+off+the+baton+for+the+last+dash+in+the+4x100+Meter+Relay+at+Illinois+Twilight+at+the+Illinois+Track+Field+on+Saturday%2C+Apr.+22.++++Quinn+made+it+to+the+finish+line+first+to+give+Illini+a+time+of+39.42.
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Several Illini walk away with medals at Big Ten Championship

Mo Maat sprints up behind Devin Quinn to hand off the baton for the last dash in the 4x100 Meter Relay at Illinois Twilight at the Illinois Track Field on Saturday, Apr. 22.    Quinn made it to the finish line first to give Illini a time of 39.42.

Mo Maat sprints up behind Devin Quinn to hand off the baton for the last dash in the 4x100 Meter Relay at Illinois Twilight at the Illinois Track Field on Saturday, Apr. 22. Quinn made it to the finish line first to give Illini a time of 39.42.

Elisabeth Neely

Mo Maat sprints up behind Devin Quinn to hand off the baton for the last dash in the 4x100 Meter Relay at Illinois Twilight at the Illinois Track Field on Saturday, Apr. 22. Quinn made it to the finish line first to give Illini a time of 39.42.

Elisabeth Neely

Elisabeth Neely

Mo Maat sprints up behind Devin Quinn to hand off the baton for the last dash in the 4x100 Meter Relay at Illinois Twilight at the Illinois Track Field on Saturday, Apr. 22. Quinn made it to the finish line first to give Illini a time of 39.42.

By Jared Farmer, Staff Writer

Junior Jonathan Wells set a new school-record (2.26 meters) in the high jump competition this past weekend when he won the event at the 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Winning his second high jump title, and first outdoors, Wells is now the sixth Illini to win the gold medal at the outdoor Big Ten Championship in the high jump. He’s the first Illini to win the event at Big Ten’s since Ernie Haisley did it in 1958, and broke the 39-year old high jump record (2.22m) set in 1979 by Gail Olson.

“I think Wells’ performance was huge for us,” Head Coach Mike Turk said. “With Dave Kendziera out of the meet, that immediately put a huge void in our lineup. Jonathan was really steady this whole weekend, producing at a high level in all his events. I felt like with how depleted we were, he showed what type of program and people we have, and it was a great show of character.”

The Big Ten title caps off the weekend for Wells, who scored 20 points for the Illini in the high jump, long jump, and 110m hurdles. Overall, the Illini Men’s Track and Field team finished 12thoverall, scoring 38 points. Ohio State won the men’s team title, scoring 109 points.

Wells also won his first Big Ten medal in long jump competition this weekend, leaping 7.71m to finish as the runner-up. In the 110m hurdles, Wells finished sevenths adding two more points to his total score.

To go along with Wells’ 20 points, fellow junior Devin Quinn also tallied 11.5 points across three different sprinting events. In the 100m and 200m, Quinn finished fourth with times of 10.28 and 20.68, respectively.

Quinn scored his other point-and-a-half as the anchor on Illinois’ 4x100m relay. Finishing third, the unit of Mo Maat, Jason Shannon, Joe Haight and Quinn finished with a time of 39.40, the fifth fastest time in Illini history.

“I was really pleased with what Devin did,” Turk said. “He’s been struggling with his confidence a little bit after we pulled him from the Drake Relays, and it’s hard to rebuild that confidence without having any meets between Drake and Big Ten’s. With that and finals, it’s really risky to try and see where he was at just because of how tiring both of those are. I think that as the meet went on, he started getting better. I think he had a really good Sunday in the 4×100, and then came back and battled in the 100m and 200m. I think this weekend helped him reestablish himself at the national level.”

Despite not scoring in the hammer throw, senior Matsen Dziedzic had the second-best throw in Illini history on his second attempt of the afternoon, marking 63.31m. The performance was just one centimeter shy of scoring.

“That performance was bittersweet to me,” Turk said. “I know that a couple of years ago, that would’ve probably been good enough to score at the national meet, let alone Big Ten’s. The fact that there’s a lot of guys in the conference now that can throw that far is crazy. But nonetheless, I’m still extremely proud of Matsen this weekend. He had a tremendous performance and competed to the best of his ability, sometimes that’s just the way it goes.”

Coming into the finals as the top seed in hurdle events, senior David Kendziera withdrew from the competition after suffering a minor hamstring injury before the finals. He’ll have two weeks to recover and rejoin the Illini on the track at the NCAA Outdoor Championships.

“Right now, it’s going to be about recovering from both finals and this weekend, not just for Dave but the team as a whole. We leave next week for prelim rounds, so we’ll have these next few days to rest and tighten things up going into NCAAs.”

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