No running times/PBs included due to them not being converted. Converted times will be made available in the coming days on fightingillini.com.
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. – The men’s and women’s track and field teams completed the Illini Challenge on Saturday, Jan. 28. This was the second and final home meet in the UI Armory for the 2023 Indoor season. Four new top-10 school marks were recorded today: two in the field, one heptathlon and one on the track.
Senior Jessica McDowell won the 400m race and with a 52.54* which is second in the school’s history and in the country this year. Freshman Viktor Morozov won the triple jump and has already jumped the school’s seventh best mark in only his second meet, 15.93m (52-3 1/4). Sophomore Tori Thomas has returned to the pole vault and wasted no time winning and climbing the record books. She now holds the school’s second best vault, 4.18m (13-8 1/2).
“This was a good weekend I feel for our teams,” said Director of track and field Petros Kyprianou. “Certain individuals answered the challenge I put on them back in August. We might not be where we would like to be nationally, but we have a few individuals that can set the tone for us for the future. I am excited to see some of our key events: the pole vault, triple jump, shot put and mile. Those are the events we are trying to go heavy in and see how far we can go at the national meets. I am really excited for the rest of the season.”
The day started with the rest of the heptathlon. Assistant coach Ken Mullings won the heptathlon with 5,933 points while competing unattached. Senior Aiden Ouimet recorded the school’s new third best heptathlon with 5,494 points, he placed fourth.
Senior Tyler Sudduth won the shot put on a toss of 19.30m (63-4). Redshirt senior Will Rezny finished second on a new personal-best 17.71m (58-1 1/4). Junior Hunter Hendershot completed the podium sweet in the shot put with his new personal-best throw of 16.78m (55 3/4).
Both the men’s and women’s teams swept the podium for the mile. On the men’s side junior Tyler Cushing crossed first, followed by sophomore Will Merrick and junior Anthony Maida. On the women’s side senior Olivia Howell broke the tape, followed by graduate student Emma Milburn and sophomore Halle Hill.
The men’s 400m concluded the podium sweeps for the Illini at three. Redshirt senior Kashief King captured gold, senior Jason Thormo obtained silver and freshman Tadeas Placek earned bronze. Freshman Madison Hardamon and Ashley Oliver finished second and third in the 400m, respectively.
Graduate student Bret Dannis finished second in the 60m hurdles. Newcomer and sophomore Styliana Ioannidou won the women’s high jump, 1.7m (5-7). Freshman Olivia Whatley placed second in the shot put with a 12.91m (42-4 1/4) toss.
The men’s and women’s track and field teams travel out to Notre Dame on Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3-4 for the Meyo Invitational.