Sophomore Ryisha Boyd was part of the second-place 4x400m relay on Saturday at the Drake Relays.
April 24, 2010
DES MOINES, Iowa - The No. 23 Illinois women's track and field team wrapped competition at the Drake Relays on Saturday, posting a solid showing on the final day at Drake Stadium. The 4x400m relay and junior Tamika Robinson in the 100m hurdles both earned runner-up finishes, while senior Angela Bizzarri nearly broke her own school record in the 1,500m while racing against some of the nation's top professional runners.
"It was a good meet overall, and everyone is really on target now," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "Ryisha had a very good first leg and Ashley ran awesome to help the 4x400m relay get second. Tamika hit the first hurdle, so she didn't have as good of a race as she was hoping, but was still able to finish second."
Robinson recorded a time of 13.36 to finish behind only Ohio State's Letecia Wright (13.07) and place second in the event for the second straight week. The Chicago, Ill., native began the season with three consecutive victories in the hurdles before notching back-to-back runner-up finishes at the last two meets.
A lightning storm caused over an hour delay before the 4x400m relay could be completed. Once competition resumed, the foursome of sophomores Ryisha Boyd, Ashley Kelly and Latoya Griffith and junior Melissa Bates recorded a season-best time of 3:34.25 and finished second behind Baylor (3:33.32). The Orange and Blue's time in the event also ranks sixth in school history.
Bizzarri competed in the 1,500m Special Invitational and held her own against the nation's best, turning in the second-fastest time in school history. The Mason, Ohio native posted a time of 4:16.99, just four hundredths shy of her own school record in the event, and placed sixth in the loaded field.
"Angela ran really close to her personal best, so it was a really good race," Buford-Bailey said. "It was a tough and tactical race, but it is good for her to be in that competition."
Illinois turned in fourth-place finishes in a pair of events, the 400m hurdles and the 4x100m relay. Sophomore Latoya Griffith timed 58.64, her second-fastest mark of the season in the hurdles, while the foursome of junior Cheria Morgan, sophomore Ashley Kelly, freshman Kayla Smith and Robinson combined for a time of 45.33 in the relay. Sophomore Jayla McArthur also ran the 400m hurdles and finished 19th at 1:01.21.
In the field events, freshman Kawanna Brooks competed in both the long jump and triple jump. She tied for 10th in the long jump with a leap of 19-3 ½ (5.88), finishing two centimeters in front of senior Alecia Beckford-Stewart, who came in 12th at 19-2 ¾ (5.86m). In the triple jump, Brooks was 13th with a personal-best mark of 40 feet (12.19m) while sophomore Alexandria Smith was 18th at 38-11 ¾ (11.88m).
Illinois now returns home for a week of practice before hosting the Illinois Twilight on Friday, April 30.