Illinois Wins Illini Classic
Jan. 18, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois women's track and field team won the Illini Classic on Saturday, racking up 159 points to place first among the 10-team field. Five Illini won individual event titles, while five others placed in the top-three in their respective events.
"It was a great day and a great meet," said head coach Ron Garner. "Last week we came back from break and knew we had some work to do. We did a lot of work in the past two weeks, and we came in today and did some more. We did some quality things and as a whole, we saw a team that was ready to compete."
Kawanna Brooks won the 60m hurdles for the second straight week, while Jesica Ejesieme placed second in her season debut. After placing third in the 60m dash last weekend, Kymbriona Taylor clocked a personal-best time of 7.60 to win the event. The time is the fastest for an Illini this season.
Asia Thomas competed in her first 400m race of the season, winning the event with a time of 56.68, while Amanda Duvendack placed second in her first-ever 400m race. After winning the 400m last weekend, Ahlivia Spencer placed first in the 600m, clocking a 1:32.43, while Chloe Schmidt recorded a second-place finish in the 800m.
Alyssa Schneider won the mile run for the second straight week, shaving six seconds off of her personal best time to clock the 10th-fastest time in school history. Colette Falsey also recorded a new personal-best, trimming five seconds off of last week's time to place third, while Katie Porada ran unattached and won the 3,000m. The 4x400m relay team of Asia Thomas, Jesica Ejesieme, Amanda Duvendack and Ahlivia Spencer also notched a first place finish.
"Alyssa Schneider running a top-10 time was big," said Garner. "She ran a great race. Colette Falsey and Courtney Ackerman also ran well and were right in the race. They really put themselves out there. We also did a fantastic job in the relay. Both Ahlivia Spencer and Amanda Duvendack have trained hard the past two weeks and ran some great races today. Last weekend, Asia Thomas didn't really do what we needed her to do in the 4x400m relay, but she came back this week and put the team in a great place."
In the field events, Illini Open champion Kandie Bloch-Jones set a new personal-best to place second in the high jump, while Samone Thompson placed third in the long jump with a personal best mark of 15.49m.
"Kandie Bloch-Jones has had a great two weeks, and we look forward to her being a major contributor this season," said Garner. "As a staff, Tim Vaught is a great fit, and Scott Jones has done a great job of transitioning the girls from cross country to indoor track season. We have some very promising things ahead. Not just this season, but where we're going as a program."
Next weekend, the Illini travel to Lexington, Ky. for the Rod McCravy Memorial on Jan. 24-25.
Illinois First Place Finishers: