15 top-10 finishes propel Illini at Iowa Classic


Illinois’ DJ Zahn crosses the finish line to win the 4×100 meter relay during the Illinois Twilight Track and Field meet at Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium, on April 12, 2014. Zahn placed first in the 400 meters at the Iowa State Classic this weekend with a time of 46.32 seconds, his new personal best.

By Will Small

The Illinois men’s track and field team garnered 15 top-10 finishers at the Iowa State Classic on Friday and Saturday in Ames, Iowa.

Senior DJ Zahn placed first in the 400 meters with a time of 46.32 seconds, which is a new personal best.

In the 4×400 relay, David Kendziera, Kenneth Allen, Joe McAsey and Zahn placed second at 3:08.1, the fastest time of the season for the team. Head coach Mike Turk was surprised by the relay’s strong performance because McAsey had just finished a race before.

“We weren’t even sure if Joe was going to run,” Turk said. “We were kind of surprised that we came up with the time that we did, but it was certainly a really great performance for them.”

Junior Cam Viney and Kendziera finished first and second in the 60 meter hurdles with times of 7.89 and 7.97, respectively. Turk knows the duo is improving every day and said they ran a great race.

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Illinois has exhibited depth all season in the distance events, and this past weekend was no exception.

In the mile, freshman Liam Markham and senior Bryce Basting finished in the top 15. Markham finished 13th with a time of 4:02.47 and Basting finished 15th at 4:03.45.

Another strong distance event for the Illini was the 3,000 meters, where junior Paul Zeman finished 19th with a time of 8:11.41, a new personal best. The time also puts Zeman in 10th on the Illinois all-time event list.

Freshman Jonathan Wells and junior Branden Tanthavong put up strong performances for the Illini in the field events. Wells came in third in the high jump, clearing 2.14 meters. Wells has been a strong competitor for Illinois, and Turk anticipates the good performances to continue.

The triple jump was another top-five finish for the Illini. Tanthavong jumped 15.01 meters, enough for second place in the event.

This was arguably Illinois’ best performance so far this season, and Turk believes his team is starting to peak at the right time. Next up for Illinois is the Orange and Blue Open on Saturday at the Armory.

“I think this meet helped round our whole team together,” Turk said. “We were just a much better team this week, all across the board, and I’m very pleased.”

Will can be reached at [email protected].