Senior Chantelle Groenewoud advanced to the NCAA steeplechase final for the first time in her career with a personal-best time.
June 9, 2011
DES MOINES, Iowa - Senior Chantelle Groenewoud gave the Illinois women's track and field team its second qualifier at the NCAA Championships, advancing to the final in the 3,000m steeplechase for the first time in her career with a personal-best mark of 10:04.00. The N. Vancouver, B.C., native becomes the first Illini to make the final in the event since Cassie Hunt did so for three straight years from 2004-06. Senior Tamika Robinson (100m hurdles) and sophomore Stephanie Morgan (1,500m) also competed in semifinal races of their respective events at Drake Stadium on Thursday.
"It was really exciting for Chantelle to run a 10-second PR at the national meet," distance coach Jeremy Rasmussen said. "She has been here twice before, and the last time, she missed the final and was the first person out. It is great to have her advance and get this experience in her senior season."
Groenewoud, who competed at nationals for the third time, ran strong throughout the race and used a late kick to notch the fastest time of her career, which ranks second in school history. She placed seventh in her heat and tallied the No. 9 time overall among the 14 qualifiers. Her mark was 10 seconds quicker than her previous best time of 10:14.08 from her previous race at the NCAA West Preliminary Round. The senior will run her last race in Orange and Blue in the steeplechase final on Saturday at 12:54 p.m., which will be televised live on CBS.
"She had the fastest person at the meet in her section, so her heat ran pretty fast," Rasmussen said. "She followed the plan exactly like we talked about. She ran her race for the first four laps by being even and consistent and then focused during laps five and six before finishing strong. She closed in 74 seconds on the final lap, which is really fast over barriers."
Robinson ran the final race of her Illini career on Thursday, timing 13.51 in the 100m hurdles and placing 18th overall. The Chicago, Ill., native wrapped up her time in Orange and Blue as a two-time All-American in the hurdles, earning her first career honor in the 100m hurdles last season and picking up the accolade in the 60m hurdles earlier this indoor season.
Morgan also wrapped up her season in the 1,500m semifinal with a time of 4:25.44, placing her 19th overall. The Barnesville, Ohio, native turned in a solid debut season for the Illini, which included Illinois' No. 2 all-time mark of 4:15.90 in her 1,500m victory at the Drake Relays.
Illinois' other qualifier, junior Ashley Kelly, will be in action on Friday night, as she will compete in the 400m final at 7:55 p.m. Full results and a recap can be found on fightingillini.com, and live updates will be made at twitter.com/IlliniTrackXC.
Illinois Thursday Results at NCAA Championships
Q/q = qualified for NCAA final round
19. Stephanie Morgan 4:25.44
100m Hurdles (Semifinal)
18. Tamika Robinson 13.51
3,000m Steeplechase (Semifinal)
9. Chantelle Groenewoud 10:04.00 q
Illinois Remaining Schedule at the NCAA Championships
All times Central
Friday, June 10
7:55 p.m. 400m Final (Ashley Kelly)
Saturday, June 11
12:54 p.m. 3,000m Steeplechase Final (Chantelle Groenewoud)