Seven Illini Into Quarters of NCAA West Prelims
May 23, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas -- Seven Illini women's track and field athletes qualified for the quarterfinals of the 2013 NCAA West Preliminary Round of Championships today in their respective events. Junior Samantha Murphy highlighted the day, winning her heat and recording the fastest time of all 800m runners. Also advancing is defending NCAA 400m champion Ashley Spencer, freshman Morolake Akinosun (100m), junior's Amanda Duvendack and Ahlivia Spencer (800m), junior Jesica Ejesieme (400m H) and junior Katie Porada (1,500m).
"Today went really well," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "We had a lot of girls advance in their events and that was our goal for the day. Tomorrow we are looking for the girls to qualify for nationals. This is the big stage and they know what they have to do to move on. Overall, with the extremely warm weather tonight, we had a pretty big day."
After winning her first Big Ten title in the 800m a few weeks ago, Murphy continued her success on the track today. The junior won her heat and notched a new personal best time of 2:04.86 which ranks second best in school history. Two other Illini 800m runners qualified for tomorrow's 7:00 p.m. CT quarterfinal as Duvendack finished 19th overall with a time of 2:07.52 while Spencer crossed the line 22nd with a time of 2:08.08.
Akinosun automatically advanced to the 100m quarterfinals tomorrow at 6:30 p.m. as she finished second in her heat and 10th overall with a time of 11.38. She was the fastest Big Ten sprinter and was only one of two Big Ten athletes to qualify in the event. Porada placed fifth in her 1,500m heat and also automatically qualified with a time of 4:22.94. The 1,500m race will take place Saturday evening at 6:30 p.m. Ejesieme will look to advance to the NCAA Championships tomorrow at 7:30 p.m. after she set an auto mark of 59.24 in the 400m hurdles to finished 12th overall.
The top three finishers in each quarterfinal heat of the 100m, 400m, 800m, 1,500m and 400m hurdles along with the next three best times will advance to the national meet in Eugene.
Senior's Marissa Golliday and Lauren Hollingsworth closed out their careers in the 400m as they finished with times of 54.31 and 55.52, respectively. Also, sophomore Asia Thomas placed 46th in the 400m with a time of 57.09. Sophomore Chloe Schmidt's season came to an end as she finished 36th overall in the 800m with a time of 2:10.93.
Wrapping up competition for the Illini on Thursday night was senior Courtney Yaeger in the 10,000m. The current school record holder, Yaeger wrapped up her career in the event after finishing 41st overall with a time of 37:35.57.
A full list of Illinois results along with the remaining schedule of Orange and Blue competition can can be found below. Illinois will resume action at the NCAA West Preliminary Round on Friday, beginning with the pole vault competition. Live results along with a full recap can be found on fightingillini.com.
Illinois Thursday Results at NCAA West Preliminary Round
Illinois Remaining Schedule at the NCAA West Preliminary Round
Friday, May 24
Saturday, May 25