Track team tunes up for Big Tens

By Stuart Lieberman

The Illinois men’s track team found the answers it was looking for Friday night at the Hoosier Hills Invitational in Bloomington, Ind.

The Illini had one more meet to put everything in place before the Big Ten Indoor Championships next weekend.

Sophomore Lesiba Masheto had another outstanding performance, taking first place in the 800-meter run with a time of 1:53.38.

“He is on course to run a very fine time at Nationals,” head coach Wayne Angel said.

The Illini also snagged first place in the 4×400 meter relay, ran by Masheto, freshman Scott Phelps, and seniors Paul Johnson and Scott Puhse, with a time of 3:14.86.

The team treated the meet as a chance to make final preparations for next weekend, when it will have its first opportunity to compete in front of the rest of the Big Ten Conference.

“Our goals as a team were to look at holes that needed to be filled,” Angel said. “We want to put the best team forward next weekend.”

Several team members who are not typically in the spotlight stepped up this meet. Coming forward at the right time, they contributed to a maligned team that has suffered from the injuries of senior Nick Brown and sophomore Dominique Worsley.

Sophomore Sean Muldoon took sixth place in the 600-meter run with a time of 1:23.17, and Phelps finished right behind him in seventh place with a time of 1:23.73.

In addition, fifth-year senior Jon Houseworth took eighth place in the one-mile with a time of 4:14.90.

Angel believes that these individuals came forward, filling the holes that needed to be addressed before next weekend.

“I found the answers I needed to find,” Angel said. “Hopefully they will help us shine brightly.”

Next weekend, the Illini will return to Bloomington, Ind., where Angel hopes to secure a finish in the top five at the Big Ten Indoor Championships.