Sophomore Ashley Spencer reset the school record in the 400m to qualify for the finals at the NCAA Indoor Championships.
March 8, 2013
FAYETTEVILE, Ark. -- The Fighting Illini women's track and field team qualified two individuals for tomorrow's finals on day one of the NCAA Indoor Championships. Sophomore Ashley Spencer set the school record in the 400m while junior Samantha Murphy earned an automatic qualifying time in the 800m.
"I'm really proud of all of them," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "They represented very well. This is a young group and for them to run close to their personal best today is a huge accomplishment."
In her second indoor national meet, Spencer qualified for tomorrow's 400m finals as she ran a blistering 51.55 in the prelims of the event earlier today. The sophomore won her heat and recorded the second fastest time of the day. This is the first time Spencer is running the 400m at the NCAA indoor meet, as she earned All-America honor in the 200m last year. If Spencer wins the title, it will be the first time in indoor program history. The finals of the 400m are scheduled for 6:40 p.m. CT.
Murphy also qualified for the finals of the 800m as she clocked a time of 2:06.14. The junior finished third in her heat and earned an automatic qualifying time to advance. Her time was the sixth fastest time of the day. The finals of the 800m are schedule for 7:20 p.m. CT.
Freshman Morolake Akinosun competed in two event prelims today, the 60m and 200m. Akinosun crossed the finish line in the 60m with a time of 7.39, just off her personal best set a few weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships. In the 200m, Akinosun finished with a time of 23.55 to notch the 12th best time overall.
"I'm extremely proud of Morolake," Buford-Bailey said. "Not many freshman even qualified for the national meet, let alone ran close to their personal bests. It says something about her as an athlete. She's a true champion."
Junior Breeana Coleman competed in the 60m hurdles for the second consecutive year. Coleman finished the race with a time of 8.25.
A full list of Illinois' Friday results can be found below. Tomorrow, Stephanie Richartz will compete in the pole vault, senior Marissa Golliday in the pentathlon, while the 4x400m relay squad looks for a national title in the event to wrap up action from the University of Arkansas.
Illinois Friday Results at NCAA Indoor Championships
q= qualified for Saturday's finals
60m Hurdles (prelim)
12. Breeana Coleman, 8.25
14. Morolake Akinosun, 7.39
12. Morolake Akinosun, 23.55
2. Ashley Spencer, 51.55* q
2. Samantha Murphy, 2:06.14 Q