URBANA (WCIA) — It is the first time in more than a decade Illinois Track and Field has hosted the Big Ten Championships, and Jonathan Wells enjoyed having the home crowd witness his second Big Ten High Jump title.
The Senior was able to start with an easy clearance on 2.08 meters, but had some trouble when he made contact with the standard on 2.14 meters. Wells was able to shake it off and advance. Down to the last two competitors, Wells cleared 2.20 meters and watched Nebraska’s Michael Hoffer fail three times, making him champion. It is the first Illinois title on the weekend.
It is the first time the championships have been in Champaign-Urbana since 2008. The selection coincided with the completion of Demirjian Park and the renovation of the track and field area. Fans also got to check it out, it is the first time they have been able to attend since it was completed. Head coach Mike Turk says it means a lot to be hosting again.
“It only happens every 12 or 13 years or 14 years,” says Turk. “I think for our student-athletes especially it’s a really special occasion. They know how special it is to have it, it doesn’t happen very often. It’s a joy for them to be in their own home environment and I think they’re really soaking all this in a great deal.”
Sunday wraps up the championships with finals in more than a dozen events.