Feb. 9, 2008
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - A plethora of personal-bests led the Illinois women's track and field team on Saturday on the final day of the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational, boding well for the Illini with one meet to go before the Big Ten Indoor Championships.
Senior LaNeisha Waller became the third Illini to provisionally qualify for the NCAA Championships, doing so by running a time of 8.42 seconds in the 60m hurdles and finishing fourth. Waller finished 11th in the 60m hurdles at the 2007 NCAA Championships.
Senior Tiara Armstrong had a career meet, placing second in the 200m with a personal-best time of 24.19 and also finishing third in the 60m, tying her career-best time of 7.48.
"We had a lot of personal bests today," head coach Gary Winckler said. "We especially saw improvements in the 200m, 400m and triple jump, but it was a great day overall. This weekend helped solidify some things for us, and we are very close to knowing who fits in where for our championship meets."
Sophomore Aja Evans was fourth in the shot put with a distance of 50 feet, 1/2 inches, good enough to give her an NCAA provisional qualifying mark for the second straight meet. Junior Nikkita Holder took eighth in the 60m hurdles, tying her personal-best with a time of 8.48.
Every Illini entered in the 400m set a personal best, led by junior Omoye Ugiagbe who took seventh with a time of 55.15. Seniors Alondra Cooper and Briana Cunningham also PR'd, as Cooper timed 56.23 to finish 14th, while Cunningham was 16th in 56.55.
The Illinois freshmen continued to step up as well, as Melissa Bates took sixth in the triple jump, setting a new personal best distance of 40-1 1/2. Bates also ran a personal-best in the 200m, timing 25.08 to take 19th and edge out teammate Cheria Morgan, who was 20th in 20.10. Freshman Danelle Woods took 11th in the mile in her first time running the event for Illinois, finishing in 4:51.76.
Illinois returns to action next weekend, competing at the ISU Classic in Ames, Iowa from Feb. 15-16.