Illini Qualify for Big Ten Finals in Four Events
May 17, 2014
WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. - The Fighting Illini women's track and field team wrapped up day two of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on Saturday. Illinois qualified for tomorrow's finals in four events, claiming six spots in the four running event finals. In addition, the Illini will be represented in three field event finals tomorrow.
Jesica Ejesieme, Kawanna Brooks and Mobolaji Adeokun competed in the 100m hurdles trials on Saturday, with all three qualifying for tomorrow's final. Ejesieme led the trio, clocking a time of 13.65, followed by Kawanna Brooks (13.75) in seventh. Adeokun grabbed the ninth and final qualifying spot with a time of 13.81. Ejesieme also advanced to tomorrow's final in the 400m hurdles. The senior finished second in her heat with a time of 59.06 to earn a shot at the conference title. Ahlivia Spencer qualified for the 800m final after finishing seventh in the trials with a time of 2:07.89. Chloe Schmidt finished 10th, once spot away from qualifying, with a time of 2:08.64. With the trials of the 4x100m relay cancelled, the Orange and Blue have automatically secured a spot in tomorrow's final.
"I think it's pretty significant that all of our 100m hurdlers advanced to the final," said head coach Ron Garner. "Kawanna Brooks ran a seasonal-best, so that was a race she's been working to have and it's nice to see it happen at the Big Ten Championships. Jesica Ejesieme had a good day in both events. She bumped one hurdle early on but she ran really well for a good finish. She's in a place to get a good result tomorrow. For Ahlivia Spencer, qualifying for the final is the first step towards defending her conference title. She knows what she needs to do to win and she knows her abilities. All of those races are potential places to score points."
Kristen Wilson just missed a scoring spot, placing ninth with a personal-best mark of 14.59m. The mark is the sixth-best in school history. Samone Thompson completed her second-ever heptathlon, placing ninth with 6,645 points. The sophomore finished just one place away from scoring team points, but set new personal-bests in two of Saturday's three events. Thompson improved her mark in the javelin by nearly 10 meters, throwing 24.44m to place 11th, and finished seventh in the long jump with a personal-best mark of 5.48m. Thompson also notched a fourth-place finish in the 800m, just missing her personal-best with a time of 2:25.56.
It was a big day for Kristen Wilson," said Garner. "She advanced to her first final and got a PR that moves her up to number six all time. It's a nice way to go out as a senior, to have her best performance in her last meet. Today we had a good development in Samone Thompson. It was only her second heptathlon and she improved several hundred points. She's a bright spot for the future and one of the hardest workers on the team. She's setting a good tone for what we hope to accomplish in future."
"Big things can happen tomorrow," added Garner. "Kandie Bloch-Jones is coming back to defend her indoor title and she's been practicing really well the last couple of weeks. For the first time in a long time, we have two discus throwers with the opportunity to advance to the finals and score points. Jennifer DeBellis was sixth in the pole vault last year, and although she's ranked further back this year she's had some really good practices lately. We have a chance to run in the 4x100m relay and 4x400m relay, and Alyssa Schneider and Amanda Fox will be back for the 5,000m. Those are all places to score points. Hopefully we can put a good one together tomorrow."
The third and final day of the Big Ten Outdoor Championships will begin at 9:00 a.m. CT tomorrow. Running event finals begin at 11:45 a.m. CT with the 4x100m relay, while finals for the high jump, pole vault and discus will take place throughout the day.
Illinois Saturday Results at Big Ten Outdoor Championships
Team Results Through Seven Scored Events
400m Hurdles Trials
Shot Put (FINAL)
Long Jump (FINAL)
Sunday, May 18