Wishing Wells: senior long-jumper proves to be cornerstone of Illini squad

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Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Redshirt senior Jonathan Wells jumps during the first day of Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute on Saturday. Wells won the long jump title, jumping 7.65 meters.

By Meghan Rest, Sports Editor

The men’s track and field team wrapped up the indoor season, placing 10th out of 11 programs at the Big Ten Indoor Championships in Geneva, Ohio, Saturday.

Senior Jonathan Wells led the Illini on Friday during the two-day meet, collecting the long jump title and All-Big Ten accolades. While Wells placed fifth in the high jump at the 2020 indoor conference finale, the Fox Lake, Illinois, native previously won high jump titles at the 2017 Big Ten Indoor Championships and 2018 Big Ten Outdoor Championships. The six-time All-American also holds the school records in the heptathlon (5,786 points) and the high jump (2.26 meters). According to Illinois Athletics, Wells is the only athlete in program history, since at least 1944, to achieve Big Ten titles in both long and high jump events.

Wells earned the team’s lone conference title, but Illinois also picked up two other top-five finishes.

The distance medley relay, made up of sophomores Irwin Loud and Phillip Hall, freshman Kashief King and junior Jon Davis, ran in a third-place time of 9:45.43, while the 4×400-meter squad of freshmen Jason Thormo and Robert Williams and sophomores Jaden Jackson and Declan Rustay, earned a fifth-place finish with a time of 3:10.62.

The 4×400-meter team, junior triple jumper Thomas Saggau and sophomore hurdler Bret Dannis, scored for the first time at a conference meet, according to Illinois Athletics. Dannis earned an eighth-place finished in the 60-meter hurdles.

Overall, Illinois finished with 28 total team points for a 10th-place spot above Michigan State and the Rutgers, which finished 26 and 15 points, respectively, at the indoor championship. Indiana won the meet with 120.5 points.

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