Track and Field
DES MOINES, Iowa – Abe Jones capped a memorable Drake Relays by running legs on two Illinois winning relays Saturday.
Jones, who won the 400-meter hurdles Friday, teamed with Zach Glavash, Champaign Central product Jeremy Kruidenier and Tim Hobbs to win the distance medley relay. He joined Nathan Vadeboncoeur, Adrian Walker and Tramell Smith to win the sprint medley relay.
I''m best known as one of the premier short sprinters in Illinois history. I hold the UI school mark for the 60 meters, and my best finish in national competition came in the 1996 NCAA indoors, where I took third in the 55 meters. I was fourth in the same event a year later and took eighth in 1998.
CHAMPAIGN – The temperature never reached 45 degrees and crosswinds howled up to 30 mph at Saturday''s Central Collegiate Championships.
Neither seemed to bother Illinois'' Andre English, who won the 110-meter hurdles and 100 dash.
MAHOMET – Pole vaulter Mary Pat Choules made it official Thursday, signing a national letter of intent to compete for the Illinois women''s track & field team.
Choules, a senior who plans to major in chemistry at Illinois, has cleared 12 feet, 3 inches on the vault, a Bulldogs record.
CHAMPAIGN – You won''t find many – if any – track and field medals or trophies or certificates of achievement in Abe Jones'' apartment.
The Illinois junior gives them away almost as fast as he accumulates them. Good friends get some. Others are sent back to his high school alma mater for display.
I was a two-time track and field Olympian, competing in the 10,000 meters in 1976 and ''84. I was the only American male to win a world-cross country title when I broke the barrier in 1980 and repeated a year later. I was the first runner in Big Ten history to win the conference''s cross-country title four times (1973-76). I was an NCAA cross-country champion as a junior. I remain the only Illini to win an NCAA regional title, capturing the first of three in a row in 1974.
CHAMPAIGN – Ask Carlene Robinson if she''s used to central Illinois weather and you don''t wait long for a response.
"No, we''re not used to the cold," the Illini track standout said. "We''ve had to get climatized."
Illinois champions of earlier generations would have been impressed by Zach Glavash''s 600-meter time, 1 minute, 16.96 seconds. It was the fastest ever on an unbanked indoor track.
So it was a world record, albeit esoteric. Yet Illini greats would have been more impressed by the scene at the finish than the time on the scoreboard. Glavash leaned on teammates to support himself. He reclined on the track, utterly emptied.
CHAMPAIGN – For 2 years, Zach Glavash won every race he entered. But that was high school.
A two-time Class A 800-meter state champion at Chillicothe IVC, Glavash went from being best to last the second he walked on the Illinois campus. And he knew it.