Illini Win Big Ten Indoor Championships
Feb. 23, 2013
Geneva, Ohio - The Fighting Illini women's track and field team won the 2013 Big Ten Indoor Championship for the first time since the 1996 season. The squad crowned six total Big Ten champions and recorded 115 team points between the two day conference championship.
"Everyone is really excited from today's outcome," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "This is what we've been training for all year. It was great to see everyone stepping up to the plate and doing what they said they would. There were so many records set, it was a great overall performance. It's hard to pick out one person because it was an entire team effort."
Sophomore Ashley Spencer added two more Big Ten individual titles to her already impressive resume as the Indianapolis, Ind., native won the 200m and 400m for the second consecutive year. Spencer also helped the 4x400m relay squad defending their conference title, as she, Asia Thomas, Morolake Akinosun and Marissa Golliday set a school record when they won the Big Ten title. The Illini relay team crossed the line with a new school record, and Big Ten time of 3:33.30.
In the 200m, Spencer crossed the finish line with a season best time of 23.30. The sophomore already holds the school record in the event which was set during the indoor championships last season (23.24). Spencer added her second Big Ten individual title on the day in the 400m, where the Illinois school record holder finished in a new Big Ten meet record time of 52.17. Also scoring points in the event for the Illini was Thomas who finished third with a lifetime best time of 54.04.
Freshman Akinosun also had an amazing first Big Ten Championships, as she was part of the winning 4x400m relay team mentioned above, won the 60m title and placed second in the 200m. Akinosun crossed the finish line first in the 60m with a career best time of 7.32 which is fourth best in Illinois history. In the 200m, the Aurora, Ill., native set another lifetime best with a time of 23.47 to finish runner-up in the event. Akinosun's time is third fastest in the school record books.
Junior Samantha Murphy scored 14 team points during the conference championships as she finished second in the 800m and third in the 600m. Murphy finished with a time of 2:05.51 in the 800m to finish a career best second at the Big Ten meet in the event. After setting the school record in the 600m yesterday, the Perth, Ontario native crossed the finish line with a time of 1:29.61.
The Illini also won a Big Ten title in the 60m hurdles as junior Breeana Coleman set a season best time of 8.20 to win her first conference title of her career. Finishing in third place was junior Jesica Ejesieme with a time of 8.28. After scoring points for the team yesterday in the pentathlon, senior Marissa Golliday scored more points today as she finished eighth in the high jump with a mark of 5-7 1/4 (1.71m).
Senior Courtney Yaeger ran a career best time in the 5,000m, finishing with a time of 16:40.09 which ranks fifth in school history.
A full list of Illinois' Saturday results can be found below along with the final team scores from the meet. Nebraska placed second with 112 points while Michigan finished third with 89 points.
Final Big Ten Team Standings
Illinois Saturday Results at Big Ten Indoor Championships