Illini takes first at invitational

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Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

High jumper Jonathan Wells clears the bar during the Illini Invitational on Saturday at the Armory. Wells won the high jump title at the meet.

By Renato Arteaga, Staff Writer

The Illinois men’s track and field team came in first place at the program’s Illini Invitational at the UI Armory Saturday.

The meet featured ten other schools, including DePaul, University of Illinois-Chicago and Eastern Illinois. The events were split up into two days of action, with some preliminary races and multi-events taking place on January 24 and a continuation on January 25.

The invite also marked the final home meet for ten seniors on the track and field team. Jordan Cagigal, Zach Dale, Jacob LaRocca, Jesse Reiser and Jonathan Wells were the five men runners that were recognized at the meet.

While races were taking place on the track, many high jumpers were competing and getting the crowd to cheer and clap along as they were preparing to make their attempts.

The six-time Illinois All-American, Jonathan Wells, finished with the highest score overall in high jump. His measurement of 2.17 meters earned him first place and was followed by Illinois freshman Kavin Rajagopal’s score of 2.07 meters.

Sophomore Brett Daniels came in second place in the Men’s 60-meter hurdles and was .08 seconds away from first.

Sophomore Declan Rusty and junior Jason Shannon made the Illinois crowd erupt in applause after both coming in first in the 60-meter dash with the same time of 6.8 seconds.

Redshirt freshman Colin Yandel and classmate Logan Hall finished with the best time for Illinois in the mile with 4:20.27 and 4:20.70 finish times, respectively.

The men led for a good portion of the race until the final lap when Eastern Illinois runners overtook them. Yandel finished in second place and Hall finished fourth.

Sophomore Phillip Hall finished the 800-meter race with a time of 1:57.55 and managed to get second place, although he started in the back of the pack as the final lap of the race began.

Redshirt freshman Matzek finished second in his shot-put event with a throw measured at 15.96 meters. He also finished second in his weight throw event heat with a measurement of 15.05 meters.

Redshirt junior Cooper Jazo and redshirt senior LaRocca finished in first and second place in their pole vault event, respectively. Jazo finished with a measurement of 5.16 meters and LaRocca finished with a measurement of 4.76 meters.

The 4×400 meter relay team picked up a first-place finish with a time of 3:18.45 to cap off their victorious meet.

The men’s track and field team will travel to Indiana University for their next meet. This will also be a two-day event starting on Friday, January 31 and ending on Saturday, February 1.

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