March 27, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois' top sprinters and field athletes will be in action this weekend, as the women's track and field team competes at the Hurricane Challenge hosted by Miami on Saturday, March 29 at the Cobb Track and Field Facility in Coral Gables, Fla. Field events begin at 11 a.m. CT with the javelin and high jump, while running starts at 2:30 p.m.
The Orange and Blue are wasting no time getting to the core of their outdoor schedule, as they will compete against squads from Miami, Florida, Virginia, Florida Atlantic and Florida International.
The Illini are coming off of a successful spring training trip to Texas last week, where they competed in a dual meet against UT-Arlington and recorded a number of personal bests and five NCAA regional qualifying marks. Senior LaNeisha Waller led the way, hitting the regional standard in the 100m hurdles (13.61 seconds) and the long jump (19 feet, 11 ¾ inches). Other regional qualifiers were senior Tiara Armstrong (100m, 11.69), junior Nikkita Holder (100m hurdles, 13.69) and senior Briana Cunningham (400m hurdles, 59.65). All four will have a chance to better their marks on Saturday.
"Our dual meet last week went better than anticipated considering the amount of training we did that week," head coach Gary Winckler said. "We definitely will be up against a higher level of competition this week. Similar to the beginning of the indoor season, we're going to be running people in a number of events to see how they fit in, especially in the sprinting events."
Sophomore Aja Evans will get her first opportunity to compete in the discus, after recently being named an All-American in the shot put at the NCAA Indoor Championships. The Illini will run as many as eight to 10 athletes in the 100m and 200m, trying to solidify spots in the 4x100m relay.
Illinois will be off from competition next weekend before traveling to Tempe, Ariz. for the Sun Angel Track Classic on Saturday, April 12 when the Illini distance runners are expected to make their outdoor season debut.