April 24, 2008
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Illinois' women's track and field team travels west this weekend, competing at the Brutus Hamilton Invitational in Berkeley, Calif. on Friday, April 25 and Saturday, April 26 in the team's last major competition before championship season. The meet begins at noon on Friday with the start of the field events, while Saturday action begins at 12:30 p.m.
The Illini will continue their trend of competing against top-level opponents, as team entries include No. 16 Stanford, California and San Diego State.
"For many of our athletes, this will be their final test before the Big Ten Championships," head coach Gary Winckler said. "We always want to qualify as many people as possible for regionals and have the athletes who have qualified continue to better their marks. Like we have all season, we will face some high-quality competition."
Illinois has a total of 11 athletes in 14 events who have already qualified for the NCAA Regional Championships. Freshman Danelle Woods has posted regional qualifying times in back-to-back meets, doing so in the 3,000m steeplechase at the Sun Angel Track Classic (10:22.36) and in the 1,500m at the Kansas Relays (4:26.64). At the Brutus Hamilton Invitational, Woods will run the mile on Saturday while distance teammate Angela Bizzarri will also be in action, running the 5,000m on Friday.
The Illini won two events at the Kansas Relays last weekend, with senior Briana Cunningham taking the 400m hurdles title (59.15) and the shuttle hurdle relay of Nikkita Holder, Jessica Penney, Tamika Robinson and LaNeisha Waller posting a winning time of 57.21. Other top performers were senior Tiara Armstrong running a season-best time of 11.70 in the 100m and Penney leaping an Illinois career-best 20 feet, 2 ½ inches in the long jump. Most of the Illini's top sprinters and hurdlers will be in action this weekend, highlighted by Waller and Holder in the 100m hurdles, Cunningham in the 400m hurdles and Armstrong in the 100m and 200m.
Next up for Illinois is hosting the Illinois Twilight at the Illinois Soccer and Track Stadium on Wednesday, April 30 beginning at 2 p.m. The Illini will then be host to the Big Ten Outdoor Championships from May 16-18.