Junior Ashley Kelly (400m) was one of four Illini to advance to a quarterfinal at the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
May 26, 2011
EUGENE, Ore. - On the opening day of competition at the NCAA West Preliminary Round, four Illini qualified to the quarterfinals in their respective events, and senior Elizabeth Boyle wrapped up her Illini career by resetting her own school record in the 10,000m with a time of 34:28.50. Junior Ashley Kelly (400m), sophomore Stephanie Morgan (1,500m), senior Tamika Robinson (100m hurdles) and junior Latoya Griffith (400m hurdles) each advanced to the next round at Hayward Field, moving one step closer to a trip to the NCAA Championships in Des Moines.
"The objective today was to move on, and we did that in four events," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "It also was a solid finish to Elizabeth Boyle's career. I know she wanted to advance, but she has to be happy with running her fastest time in her final race. It was the perfect climate to run the 10,000m and everyone was running fast in that race."
In her final collegiate race, Boyle crossed the line 13 seconds faster than her previous personal best of 34:41.20 from earlier this season. The Elmhurst, Ill., native placed 22nd among the 48 racers but fell short of the top 12, which qualified for the national meet.
Kelly turned in the highest heat finish among Illini competitors on Thursday, as she was the runner-up in the 400m with a time of 53.70. The Tortola, British Virgin Islands, native automatically qualified for Friday's quarterfinal with the third-fastest mark overall, which also ranks as her second-quickest time this year.
"Ashley looked awesome today," Buford-Bailey said. "She got out of the blocks really well and had a really strong finish."
In the opening heat of the 1,500m, Morgan cruised to an automatic bid into the quarterfinal by placing fourth with a time of 4:23.15. Her mark was the ninth quickest out of the 24 advancing times. The transfer from Baylor will race again on Saturday afternoon with a trip to the NCAA Championships on the line. The top five finishers in each quarterfinal heat plus the next two best times will punch a ticket to Des Moines.
"Stephanie ran well to an auto time," Buford-Bailey said. "I am excited to see what tomorrow brings for her, and hopefully, there will be better weather."
Robinson moved on to the quarterfinal round of the 100m with a time of 11.60, the second-fastest mark of her career. The Chicago, Ill., native crossed the line fourth in her heat behind the three automatic qualifiers and turned in the fastest non-automatic qualifying time, which ranked 13th on the day.
"Tamika had a really good race," Buford-Bailey said. "She got off to a great start and was in one of the fastest heats. She will look to run even faster tomorrow."
Griffith, who kicked off Illini action at the meet, ran out of lane six in the sixth and final heat of the 400m hurdles, where she placed fourth with a time 59.85. The St. Andrews, Barbados, qualified for Friday's quarterfinal with her mark, which was her second fastest this season. The top three finishers in each quarterfinal heat of the 100m, 400m and 400m hurdles along with the next three best times will advance to the national meet in Des Moines.
A pair of freshmen, Amanda Duvendack (2:10.25) and Samantha Murphy (2:12.89), also wrapped up their seasons in the first round of the 800m while sophomore Kawanna Brooks ended the year with a mark of 18-7 (5.66m) in the long jump.
A full list of Illini results along with the remaining schedule of Orange and Blue competition can be found below. Illinois will resume action at the NCAA West Preliminary Round on Friday, beginning with the first round of the 100m hurdles. Live results along with a full recap can be found on fightingillini.com while live updates will be made at twitter.com/IlliniTrackXC.
Illinois Thursday Results at NCAA West Preliminary Round
Q/q = qualified for quarterfinal
100m (First Round)
13. Tamika Robinson 11.60 q
1,500m (First Round)
9. Stephanie Morgan 4:23.15 Q
22. Elizabeth Boyle 34:28.50
400m Hurdles (First Round)
21. Latoya Griffith 59.85 q
Long Jump (Prelims)
39. Kawanna Brooks 18-7 (5.66m)
Illinois Remaining Schedule at the NCAA West Preliminary Round
(All times Central)
Friday, May 27
5 p.m. 100m Hurdles First Round (Tamika Robinson)
5:50 p.m. 400m Quarterfinal (Ashley Kelly)
6 p.m. Pole Vault (Stephanie Richartz)
6:20 p.m. 100m Quarterfinal (Tamika Robinson)
7:20 p.m. 400m Hurdles Quarterfinal (Latoya Griffith)
7:50 p.m. 200m First Round (Melissa Bates, Ashley Kelly, Kayla Smith)
8:30 p.m. 3,000m Steeplechase (Chantelle Groenewoud, Amber Stack)
Saturday, May 28
2:15 p.m. High Jump (Kendall McCaugherty)
3 p.m. 4x100m Relay Quarterfinal (Cheria Morgan, Ashley Kelly, Kayla Smith, Tamika Robinson)
3:30 p.m. 1,500m Quarterfinal (Stephanie Morgan)
4:05 p.m. 100m Hurdles Quarterfinal
4:35 p.m. 200m Quarterfinal
6:25 p.m. 4x400m Relay Quarterfinal (Ryisha Boyd, Melissa Bates, Ashley Kelly, Latoya Griffith)