Senior Latoya Griffith ran the third leg of the school-record setting 4x400m relay team which qualified for NCAA Championships.
May 26, 2012
AUSTIN, Texas - On the final day of the NCAA West Preliminary round, the Illinois women's track and field team added three more NCAA qualifiers, bringing their total to six entries for the NCAA Championships. The 4x400m relay team, who set a new school record, along with sophomore Breeana Coleman (100m hurdles) will join freshman Ashley Spencer (400m) and sophomore Jesica Ejesieme(400m hurdles), who both advanced to the national meet on Friday.
"Today ended on a very nice note," head coach Tonja Buford-Baileysaid. "Everyone on the 4x400m relay did their job and it resulted in a school record. Ashley (Spencer) had an amazing 50.20 split, it was just outstanding. As a whole, it was so fun to watch."
In the last race of the night at Mike A. Myers Stadium, the 4x400m relay of senior Ashley Kelly, senior Ryisha Boyd, senior Latoya Griffith and freshman Ashley Spencer notched an automatic bid to nationals by placing second in the final heat, breaking the 19-year old school record, with a time of 3:30.97. The old mark of 3:30.98 was set in 1993 by Tonya Williams, Janelle Johnson, Katherine Williams, and head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey. This foursome ran the fastest time this season and ranked fourth out of the 12 qualifiers to Des Moines. This marks the first time since 2006 that a 4x400m relay will compete at the national meet.
In the 100m hurdles, Coleman earned a trip to nationals, following a fifth place finish in her heat and a time of 13.31. The Olathe, Kan., native grabbed the 12th and final qualifying spot in the event.
"Breeana (Coleman) stepped up today and qualified out of lane nine which is very difficult to do," Buford-Bailey said.
Sophomore Katie Poradaended her season, finishing eighth in her heat and 16th overall with a time of 4:29.20 in the 1,500m.
The 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships will be held from June 6-9 in Des Moines, Iowa, at Drake Stadium. The Illini, who competed there earlier this season at the Drake Relays, will send six athletes in four events to the national meet.
Illinois Saturday Results at NCAA West Preliminary Round
* advanced to NCAA Championships in Des Moines
# school record
100m Hurdles (Quarterfinal)
12. Breeana Coleman13.31 *
16. Katie Porada4:29.20