Sophomore Katie Porada set a new career-best time of 4:23.00 in the 1,500m at the Mt. SAC Relays.
April 22, 2012
Fayetteville, Ark. -The Illinois women's track and field team wrapped up competition today at the John McDonnell Invitational in Fayetteville, Ark. Several lllini posted personal-bests at the meet including sophomore Elizabeth Eitzen in the pole vault, sophomore's Jesica Ejesieme and Breeana Coleman in the 100m hurdles.
"We made some improvements overall", head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "We weren't as fast as we wanted to be but the girls ran pretty aggressively especially our 800m and 400m hurdlers. It was a step in the right direction going into the relay meets next weekend."
In the pole vault, Eitzen finished seventh overall, clearing 12-11 ½ (3.95m) which elevates her to number two all-time in the school record books while Ejesieme improved her 100m hurdles time by 39-tenths of a second (13.30), winning her heat and placing sixth overall. Coleman finished third in the hurdles with a time of 13.43.
Senior Latoya Griffith won her fourth 400m hurdle title during the outdoor campaign, finishing with a time of 58.83 and was followed closely by freshman Ashley Spencer who placed runner-up in a time of 59.43. Sophomore Amanda Duvendack paced the Illini efforts in the 800m, finishing fourth with a time of 2:08.93.
The 4x100m relay squad of Coleman, senior Ashley Kelly, junior Kayla Smith and Spencer clocked 44.29 to hold the second fastest time in the Big Ten this season. The Illini also found success in the 4x400m group of senior Ryisha Boyd, senior Jayla McArthur, Griffith and freshman Asia Thomas as the quartet placed second in a time of 3:39.40.
Junior Kawanna Brooks set a personal-best in the long jump as the won the event with a leap of 19-9 ¾ (6.04m) while also finishing seventh in the high jump. Freshman Mariah Smith earned runner-up in the discus after throwing 149-9 (45.65m).
Six of the seven distance runners ran a new personal record at the Mt. SAC relays in Walnut, Calif., including freshman Chloe Schmidt in the 800m, sophomore Katie Porada and freshman Alyssa Schneider in the 1,500m, juniors Madeline Aufmann and Amber Stack in the steeplechase and junior Courtney Yaeger in the 5,000m.
Porada's 1,500m time of 4:23.00 moves her into sixth on the school's top ten list while Yaeger ran the eighth fastest 5,000m time in school history (16.48.89). Aufmann (10:29.55) and Stack (10:26.83) improved their times on the school record list for fourth and fifth fastest all-time in the steeplechase.
Next weekend, the team will split again as most of the squad will compete at Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa while a small group will run at the Penn Relays in Philadelphia, April 26-28.
Illinois Results at the Mt. SAC Relays
39. Chloe Schmidt 2:10.44
3,000m Steeplechase (Open-A)
4. Amber Stack 10:26.83
3,000m Steeplechase (Open-B)
1. Madeline Aufmann 10:29.55
15. Courtney Yaeger 16:48.89
Illinois Results at the John McDonnell Invitational
1. Kawanna Brooks, 19-9 ¾ (6.04m)
7. Kawanna Brooks, 5-3 (1.60m)
2. Mariah Smith, 149-9 (45.65m)
4. Kristin Morrison, 122-11 (37.48m)
8. Kristen Wilson, 41-7 ¾ (12.69m)