March 9, 2009
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Six women's track and field athletes will represent Illinois at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships, as the official competing field was announced tonight. Junior Angela Bizzarri will run the 3,000m, junior Aja Evans will compete in the shot put and the 4x400m relay of sophomore Melissa Bates, freshman Ryisha Boyd, senior Deserea Brown and senior Omoye Ugiagbe will contest the last event of the meet.
The NCAA Indoor Championships are hosted by Texas A&M in College Station, Texas and will take place Friday, March 13 and Saturday, March 14. All three events with Illinois representatives will be held on Saturday, beginning with Evans in the shot put at 3:45 p.m. The 3,000m is scheduled for a 6:40 p.m. start, with the women's 4x400m relay slotted to begin at 7:10 p.m. Bizzarri, Evans and the 4x400m relay all set school records in their respective events this indoor season and will be aiming for All-America accolades over the weekend.
Bizzarri will be shooting for her sixth career All-America accolade, competing the 3,000m for the first time at nationals where she is seeded 10th. Last season, she anchored the distance medley relay to a sixth-place finish at the NCAA Championships. Bizzarri also qualified for this year's national meet by running an automatic qualifying time in the 5,000m, but will opt to focus solely on the 3,000m.
Evans has the sixth-best throw in the shot put field, with a mark of 55-0 1/4 (16.77m) at the Alex Wilson Invitational last weekend that reset her own school record. She will look to earn All-America honors for the second straight year, taking ninth in the shot put at the 2008 NCAA Indoor Championships.
The 4x400m relay also saved their best performance of the season for the last-chance Alex Wilson Invitational. Brown, Ugiagbe, Boyd and Bates set the Illinois record with a time of 3:35.13 last Saturday, bettering their previous season-best by over four seconds. The foursome will head to the NCAA Indoor Championships ranked third.