Feb. 24, 2007
The Fighting Illini women's track and field team concluded the first day of competition in the Big Ten Championships at the UI Armory Track in fifth place, in Champaign, Ill., today. The Orange and Blue turned in solid performances with two new school records, two Armory records and ten personal-bests in front of a home crowd of 804.
"We did well today," head coach Gary Winckler said. "Our goal was to get into finals, and we did that. Pole vault went extremely well, and Yvonne did a great job in long jump. We just have to come back tomorrow and execute as well as we did today."
Senior Yvonne Mensah had a huge day for the Orange and Blue, defending her long jump title with a leap of 20'08.00", breaking the Illinois and Armory Track records. She also set a new Armory record with a 7.31, in the 60m dash to advance to finals with the top seed. Mensah will compete in the finals tomorrow in the 200m, 60m and triple jump.
"I came into today's competition very relaxed," Mensah said. "I was ready to go, and when I saw my time on the scoreboard I was shocked. I plan on heading into tomorrow's competition with the same mindset as I had today."
Junior Ashley Whittaker broke her own school record in the pole vault with a height of 12'10.00" to place fifth overall and score four points for the Illini.
"It was a great day for me," Whittaker said. "It was one of those days where you just fight for every single height."
Other personal-bests on the day came from freshman Alecia Beckford-Stewart in high jump (5'07.00"), freshman Nikkita Holder in the 60m hurdles (8.52) and juniors Amanda Pintaro (12'02.00") and Samantha Scheidegger (11'10.00") in the pole vault.
Juniors LaNeisha Waller and Tiara Armstrong both posted personal-bests in the 60m dash with a 7.53 and 7.48 respectively, heading into the finals. Additionally, Waller posted a provisional qualifying and personal-best time of 8.17 in the 60m hurdles to head into tomorrow's finals.
The second and final day of competition will begin at 10:45 a.m. tomorrow. Live stats, a full recap and results can be found on fightingillini.com.