"CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - In front of the home crowd at the UI Armory, freshman Matthew Bane became Illinois' first Big Ten pole vault champion since 2000 after winning the event with a personal-best height of 17-3 ¾ (5.28m) to highlight day one of the Big Ten Championships. Three other Illini events scored points on Saturday, giving Illinois a team total of 20 points through five events, which places the Orange and Blue in fifth place.
"It was an awesome day for Matt," interim head coach Mike Turk said. "He came up with a huge jump when it mattered and cleared it on his first attempt. I had a good feeling about our vault crew and all those guys jumped great."
With five competitors remaining and the bar set at 5.28m, Bane sailed over the mark on his first attempt, which proved to be the winning jump. Only two other vaulters, Minnesota's Ben Peterson and Indiana's Stefanos Koufidis, cleared the height but it came on their second and third attempts, respectively. After no one was able to clear the next height of 5.38m, Bane was crowned champion, making him the first Illini to do so since Justin Norberg 11 years ago. Bane's winning mark ranks seventh in school history and gave Illinois its 17th-ever Big Ten champion in the event.
"It feels amazing," Bane said. "I came out here just hoping to score points and this was a bonus. We have put in so much work to get here, and this is the meet we have been preparing for all season. To come out and perform well makes everything worth it."
Another Illini freshman, Cody Klein, scored three points in the pole vault after matching his personal best with a mark of 16-8 (5.08m). Sophomore Joshua Hodur also turned in a solid day in the event, posting a personal-best mark of 16-4 (4.98m) and placing 12th."
"WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - On day one of the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the Illinois women's track and field squad scored in four events to pick up 17 team points while also qualifying nine individuals to finals on Sunday. Freshman Stephanie Richartz broke the school record in the pole vault, clearing a height of 12-11 ½ (3.95m) and finishing fifth overall. As a team, the Illini sit sixth after six events contested at Purdue's Lambert Fieldhouse.via fightingillini.com
"Our biggest accomplishment of the day was Stephanie Richartz breaking the school record in the pole vault," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "She had a great day and stepped up when it counted, so a freshman setting that record at the conference meet was the highlight of the day."
Richartz eclipsed the old school-record mark of 12-10 (3.91m), set by Ashley Whittaker in 2007, by an inch and a half. The Carmel, Ill., native cleared each of her first three bars with ease before sailing over 3.85m on her third attempt to earn a shot at the school record, which she then went over on her second attempt. Another freshman pole vaulter Elizabeth Eitzen just missed scoring with a ninth-place finish after a personal-best mark of 12-7 ½ (3.85m)."