Freshman Morolake Akinosun qualified for nationals in the 100m, 200m and was part of the school record 4x400m relay which will compete in Eugene.
May 25, 2013
AUSTIN, Texas -- On the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary round, the Illini women's track and field athletes added five more to the 2013 NCAA Championships on Saturday night. The 4x400m relay squad of senior Marissa Golliday, freshman Morolake Akinosun, sophomore Ashley Spencer and junior Ahlivia Spencer won their heat with a new school record while Akinosun also qualified for the national meet in the 200m tonight.
"Overall we had an outstanding weekend," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "I am so excited about everyone who qualified for nationals. We had some good surprises and everything went perfectly. The girls are winners and this weekend they fought like it as well. Morolake had an outstanding weekend, qualifying in two individual events and part of the 4x400m relay. I'm really happy about the 4x400 breaking the school record tonight. We've had a really cold spring so it was hard for the girls to be in the right frame of mind to run well consistently. So to qualify 11 out of 18 athletes is super."
The 4x400m relay squad notched an automatic bid to nationals by winning heat one with a time of 3:30.76. The crew recorded the third quickest time of the night, coming behind Arkansas and Texas. The school record prior to tonight was set at the same meet last year by Ashley Kelly, Ryisha Boyd, Latoya Griffith and Spencer (3:30.97). The foursome will compete in the national meet for the second consecutive year.
Akinosun continued her success at the NCAA West Prelims, as she finished fourth in her heat and 10th overall with a time of 23.52. The freshman is only one of two freshman who advanced to the national meet and the only Big Ten opponent out of the west region.
Junior Jesica Ejesieme set her second fastest time of the season in the 100m hurdles on Saturday night. Ejesieme finished 18th overall with a time of 13.61.
Junior Katie Porada ended her season on Saturday, finishing 14th in the 1,500m with a time of 4:21.05. She also ran in the 5,000m semifinal and crossed the finish line with a time of 17:07.59 while sophomore Alyssa Schneider finished the event with a time of 17:39.40.
The Illini will have a week off before the 11 athletes travel to the 2013 NCAA Championships in Eugene, Ore., on June 5-8.
Illinois Saturday Results at NCAA West Preliminary Round
* = qualified for NCAA Championships # = school record
10. Morolake Akionsun 23.52 *
14. Katie Porada 4:21.05
18. Jesica Ejesieme 13.61