Illini Rack Up Four Titles at Outdoor Season Opener
March 17, 2012
ORLANDO, Fla. - The Illinois women's track and field team kicked off the outdoor season with a number of solid performances at the Black and Gold Challenge hosted by the University of Central Florida on Saturday. Freshman Ashley Spencer won the 200m with a time of 23.08, sophomore Amanda Duvendack took home the 800m victory with a time of 2:10.47, senior Latoya Griffith won the 400m hurdles crown with a time of 59.05 and the 4x100m relay squad of sophomore Breeana Coleman, senior Ashley Kelly, junior Kayla Smithand Spencer were the champions with a time of 43.82 at the UCF Soccer and Track Complex.
"We had a great opener today," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "Ryisha Boyd almost ran a PR in the 400 meters after coming off of an injury during the indoor season. She ran a very smart race and had something to prove after her indoor season was cut short. Latoya Griffith ran very well in the 400 hurdles and is in the top four in the nation after today. The 4x100 squad ran faster in the opener than we ran all year last year so we are really off to a good start. Ashley Spencershined again in the 200 meters running the nation's fastest time."
Spencer captured her first 200m outdoor crown in 23.08, a time which ranks the fastest time in the nation as well as third quickest on the school record lists. The relay squad named above finished with a time of 43.82 which is the second fastest time in school history.
The Illini also had three runner-up performances including senior Ryisha Boyd (53.74) in the 400m, sophomore Samantha Murphy in the 800m (2:11.62) and the 4x400m relay team of senior Jayla McArthur, Duvendack, Murphy and Boyd who timed a mark of 3:45.71.
Up Next: The Illini will continue to train in Starkville, Mississippi during the spring break week and participate in the Big Ten vs. SEC Challenge on March 23.
Illinois Results at the Black and Gold Challenge