The 4x100m relay team celebrate their victory at the Drake Relays on Saturday.
April 27, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- On the final day of the 104th Drake Relays, the Fighting Illini women's track and field team captured the first annual HyVee Cup. The team totaled 42 of a total 50 team points with three relays taking titles and one setting a new school record on Saturday.
"The Drake Relays was overall a great meet for us," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "They wanted to win the HyVee cup so badly and their performances showed it. It's been 25 years since we won a 4x1 title and not sure about the 4x4 but it has surely been awhile. Ashley Spencerhad two outstanding anchor performances in both of those relays including a 50.00 leg on the 4x4. One of our goals coming into the weekend was to break school records in the sprint medley and 4x800 and they were able to do both. I'm so proud of our entire group and the way they worked together. This is good momentum for us going into conference. The Big Ten is such a great competitive conference so it's good to have some extra motivation going into that weekend."
The Orange and Blue started the day victorious in the sprint medley relay. The group of freshman Morolake Akinosun, sophomore Ashley Spencer, junior Ahlivia Spencer, junior Samantha Murphycrossed the finish line with a school record time of 3:45.75. The squad recorded 10 team points and their time was just off the Drake Relays record which was set last year. Murphy ran the anchor leg of the relay and helped beat Georgia by .27 seconds. It's the Illini's first Drake Relays victory in the event since 1988 and is the fastest since the 1995 season when they clocked 3:47.84.
The Illini notched their second Drake Relays white flag as the 4x100m relay won the race in a time of 44.28. The time from junior Breeana Coleman, senior Lauren Hollingsworth, Akinosun, Ashley Spencer was a season best and landed just outside the school's top-10 list all-time. In the distance medley relay, sophomore Chloe Schmidt, sophomore Asia Thomas, junior Amanda Duvendack and junior Katie Poradafinished fifth with an overall time of 11:17.56 for four team points.
The Orange and Blue won the 4x400m relay with a time of 3:32.40. Senior Marissa Golliday, Akinosun, Ahlivia Spencer and Ashley Spencertimed the second best relay of the season. The Illini beat two conference opponents in Ohio State and Nebraska to win the title.
Three other individuals set season bests on Saturday as junior Jesica Ejesieme finished the 400m hurdles with a time of 58.49 while senior Madeline Aufmannset a time of 10:35.70 in the 3,000m steeplechase. In the 1,500m, Porada finished with a season best time of 4:20.44.
Full results from the Drake Relays can be found below. The Illini will have a week off before traveling to Columbus, Ohio to compete in the Big Ten Championships on May 10-12.
Illinois Schedule at the Drake Relays
Saturday, April 27
7. Madeline Aufmann10:35.70 - season best
400m Hurdles FINAL
5. Jesica Ejesieme58.49 - season best
100m H FINAL
7. Breeana Coleman13.78
7. Katie Porada4:20.44 - season best
Friday, April 26
High Jump FINAL
T7. Marissa Golliday5-7 3/4 (1.72m)
23. Mariah Smith133-10 (40.80m)
19. Kristin Morrison38.92m
Long Jump FINAL
20. Marissa Golliday5.31m
Thursday, April 25
16. Meghan Frigo36:15.85
* = school record