Junior Samantha Murphy earned her first All-America honors after placing fourth in the 800m at the NCAA meet.
March 9, 2013
FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. -- The Fighting Illini women's track and field team finished the 2013 NCAA Indoor Championships crowning four All-Americans and matching/setting four school records on the final day of competition. The team placed 14th with 14 team points which is the highest finish for the Orange and Blue at the national indoor meet since the 2002 season.
"I'm really excited about being in the top 15," head coach Tonja Buford-Baileysaid. "It's great for the group. Everyone came here and performed really well. I couldn't be more proud of our team. They fought really hard and are very motivated for the outdoor season. Ashley ran another school record but she was in the second section. She still ran faster than she did yesterday and a good 2.5 seconds faster than last year. She's way ahead of schedule. Samantha has made huge strides this year. Earning All-American status was a great accomplishment for her. Also, I'm so happy Stephanie got All-America honor as well as Marissa."
After setting the school record in the 400m last night, Ashley Spencer reset the program's best time as she finished third in the event. Spencer finished with a time of 51.27 to earn her third All-America honor and second indoors. Samantha Murphycapped her incredible junior year by earning her first All-America honors in the 800m. Murphy reset the school record she set earlier in the season tonight, finishing fourth with a time of 2:03.95.
The Illini's two other All-Americans came from senior Marissa Golliday in the pentathlon and junior Stephanie Richartz in the pole vault. In her first time competing at the national meet in an individual event, Golliday finished seventh and scoring a valuable point for the team. The senior broke the school record, totaling 4,167 points and finished with personal bests in four of the five events. Golliday also ran the opening leg on the 4x400m relay squad as well.
Richartz matched her school record which she set a few weeks ago at the Big Ten Championships. The junior set a mark of 13-11 1/4 (4.25m) to finish eighth and earn her first All-America honors.
The 4x400m relay team of Golliday, freshman Morolake Akinosun, sophomore Asia Thomasand Spencer finished ninth with a time of 3:35.30. The time marks the second fastest time the relay has run during the indoor season.
The Illini will have two weeks off before they begin the outdoor season at the Texas Relays on March 28-30.
Illinois Saturday Results at NCAA Indoor Championships
3. Ashley Spencer, 51.27*
4. Samantha Murphy, 2:03.95*
Pole Vault (FINAL)
8. Stephanie Richartz, 13-11 1/4 (4.25m) *
7. Marissa Golliday, 4,167*