Five Illini Notch Top-Five Finishes at Tyson Invitational
Feb. 15, 2014
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Illinois women's track and field team competed at the Tyson Invitational this weekend. Illinois recorded seven top-10 finishes, including six in the top-five. Two Illini moved up in Illinois' all-time top-10 list in their respective events, while the distance medley relay clocked the fifth-fastest time in school history in its season debut. The Orange and Blue also sent two pole vaulters to the Spire Invitational, where they recorded two fifth-place finishes.
"We are working hard, improving on a consistent basis, and readying ourselves for Big Tens and the NCAA Championships.," said head coach Ron Garner. "We still have many areas where we can improve. We simply need to stay focused and committed to the plan."
On Friday, Illinois dominated the championship section of the 800m run, with three Illini finishing in the top-five. Ahlivia Spencer placed second in her second 800m race of the season, clocking a season-best time of 2:07.94, while Amanda Duvendack placed third with a time of 2:08.07. Chloe Schmidt recorded a personal-best time of 2:08.24 to place fifth.
"The 800 runners represented Illinois well," said Garner. "The University of Illinois' presence was felt in the middle distance events. Ahlivia Spencer followed up her excellent performances at last weekend's Meyo Invitational with two really good races. She got a win in her heat of the Championship Division 800m race and today she responded with another 53.7 in the 4x400m Relay. Really nice efforts! Amanda Duvendack had very productive weekend also. She's training very hard and is having excellent season. She performing at a new level. Chloe Schmidt ran two very good races this weekend. She PR'd in the 800 on Friday and gave a strong effort on Saturday in the DMR. She had some fun this weekend."
Alyssa Schneider competed in the championship section of the mile and placed fifth. The junior clocked a personal-best time of 4:47.34, which is the 10th-fastest mile time in school history. Britten Petrey competed in the college section of the mile and placed seventh with a personal-best time of 4:58.66.
"Alyssa Schneider is having a fantastic season," said Garner. "Her year started out excellent in cross country and has continued to progress with improvements on a weekly basis. Alyssa and Coach Scott Jones have formed a great partnership. She is racing very aggressively and will continue to improve in the future because of this mindset. She is demonstrating a great deal of confidence in her training and competition plan. Alyssa had nice race effort both days in the mile and DMR. In our first event of the weekend, Britten Petrey started off our meet with a PR in the mile. Her performance set the tone for her teammates."
On Saturday, the Illini competed in the distance medley relay for the first time this season and placed fourth. The squad of Stephanie Morgan, Kymbriona Taylor, Chloe Schmidt and Alyssa Schneider clocked a time of 11:29.51, the fifth-fastest time in school history and the third-fastest in the Big Ten this season. Kandie Bloch-Jones placed second in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 1.82m, the fourth-best mark in school history and currently the best in the Big Ten this season.
"Kandie had a great performance today in an excellent field of jumpers," said Garner. "She was a little nervous before the competition started, but jumped better as the height of the bar increased. She has performed well in each and every competition this season. Her second effort at 1.85m was very close. It was great to see her enjoy the moment."
Jennifer DeBellis and Nicole Demarais competed in two different sections of the pole vault at the Spire Invitational, and each notched fifth-place finishes. DeMarais set a new personal-best of 3.20m, while DeBellis reached a mark of 3.83m, a personal-best and the sixth-best mark in school history.
Illinois Top-10 Finishes
Mile Run (Championship)
Mile Run (College)
High Jump (Championship)
Pole Vault (Section 2)