Junior''s record highlights Illinois'' effort in opener

Junior''s record highlights Illinois'' effort in opener

By: Dave Wischnowsky

By: Dave Wischnowsky

By: Dave Wischnowsky

By: Dave Wischnowsky

CHAMPAIGN – It's not his race of choice, and he wasn't even counting on a win, let alone a school record, but that didn't stop Bobby True from setting one Saturday.

The University of Illinois junior ripped off a 1-minute, 18.01-second clocking in the 600 meters to set a school mark at the UI Armory.

True's performance helped the Illini men's track team kick off the season by winning the Illinois Invitational. Illinois scored 137 points, Eastern Illinois 110 and Indiana State 107.

In the women's meet, Illinois tied Indiana State for first with 130. Eastern had 76.

"I wasn't trying to (set the record), really. I wasn't even expecting to win," True said. "I didn't expect to run such a great race, especially against a teammate, whose record precedes him."

That teammate – and roommate – is UI senior Matt Klima, whom True edged by 0.46. And that record was 1:18.64, which Klima set last season. Klima's 1:18.47 also broke his own mark.

"That was an awesome race," UI men's coach Gary Wieneke said. "Only 13 Americans have run the 600 under 1:18, so that tells you how fast a 1:18.01 is this early."

Not bad for someone who was running the 600 for only the third time – "I'm more of a half-miler, miler," True said – his previous best being 1:23.03.

"It's a nice change of pace, running a different race," True said. "I think I could get to like it, but I don't think I'll be doing it a lot."

A lot of Illini women did things Saturday that they couldn't last year, including fifth-year senior high jumper and hurdler Nora Weber.

Weber, 1 of 4 Illini women who redshirted last season because of injury, was in top form, setting personal bests in the high jump and 55 hurdles.

The Canton product sat out 1997 after having surgery to repair a right foot injury.

"I started off really disgusting (in the high jump)," said Weber, who misplaced her jumping shoes before the event. "But, I finished very well."

She cleared 6 feet to win and also placed third in the hurdles.

Freshmen aided the UI.

Mike Lucchesi won the men's 5,000 (14:52.43), Sherman Armstrong was second in the 200 (22.2) and the 55 hurdles (7.58), and Matt Saarima was second in the mile (4:16).

For the women, Aleisha Latimer tied Benita Kelley for first in the 300 (18.1) and took second in the 60 (7.54).

"We had probably one of our best opening meets we've ever had," UI women's coach Gary Winckler said. "It was good to get the old ones back, and our youth added a new dimension."

Other UI winners:

– Kelley, women's 60 (7.36) and tie for first in the 150 (18.1).

– Collinus Newsome, women's shot put (50 feet, 2 inches) and weight throw (52-4 3/4).

– Chris Jones, men's 400 (48.52).

– Lyria Martin, women's 300 (39.78).

– Cortney Lamb, men's 800 (1:53.30).

– Candace Nicholson, women's 600 (1:34.5).

– Danielle Fonzino, women's 3,000 (10:28.51) and Rob Winfield, men's 3,000 (8:28.50).

– Yvonne Harrison, women's 55 hurdles (7.77).

– T.J. Jumper, men's high jump (6-9 3/4).

– Tisha Ponder, women's long jump (18-11 1/4).

– Nick Vitellaro, men's triple jump (48-6 1/4).

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