Nine Illini Win Titles at Season Opener
Jan. 11, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois women's track and field team began the indoor season on Saturday at the Illini Open. Nine Illini won event titles at the UI Armory, while seven others placed in the top-three in their respective events.
"I think it was a good opener for us," said head coach Ron Garner. "We had the fall to transition with the new staff and get to know the athletes, but until you have your first competition you really don't know where you're at. The team has come a long way since August, and today was the first step in preparing for the next Big Ten championship."
Senior Ahlivia Spencer took home the 400m crown with a time of 56.64, while Amanda Duvendack ran a personal-best time of 1:32.66 to place first in the 600m. Duvendack joined teammates Asia Thomas, Chloe Schmidt and Samone Thompson in the 4x400m relay, team that placed first with a time of 3:52.66. Junior Alyssa Schneider won the mile run with a personal best time of 4:53.83, with teammates Stephanie Morgan, Schmidt and Colette Falsey rounding out the top-four.
Senior Kawanna Brooks collected three event titles on the day, winning the 60m dash, 60m hurdles, and long jump titles. Brooks ran a personal best time of 8.58 to place first in the 60m hurdles, while teammate Samone Thompson finished second. Junior Asia Thomas competed in the 200m, clocking a personal-best 25.02 to place second, while teammate Kymbriona Taylor finished third in the event.
Two freshmen won titles at the Illini Open, including Courtney Ackerman in the 3,000m. Ackerman finished with a time of 10:20.41, nearly eight seconds ahead of the next competitor. Kandie Bloch-Jones made her collegiate debut in the high jump, placing first with a mark of 1.70m.
The Fighting Illini return to the Armory next weekend for the Illini Classic on Jan. 17-18.
Illinois first place finishers: