Spencer Makes Team USA; Will Compete at Worlds
June 22, 2013
DES MOINES, Iowa -- Sophomore Ashley Spencer continued her incredible track season as she qualified for the IAAF World Championships in the 400m. Spencer finished third in the 400m at the 2013 USATF National Championships to advance and compete for Team USA in Moscow, Russia August 10-18.
"Today was a great effort by Ashley," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "For her to make her first senior team, in her first try is truly outstanding. This is what she wanted to achieve all year. It was hard to run against that level of competition for three straight days. The race strategy is different in those types of races. She had to work really hard with 150 meters remaining. Her kick with 20 meters left was great. It's super exciting to make your first national team. I'm so happy for her."
Spencer ran out of lane four in the event final as the only collegian in the race. Coming into the last 200m, the two-time NCAA champion was sitting in fifth place but finished hard to pass two people and hit the line in third place with a time of 50.58. The time was her second fastest time all season and is currently fifth in the world. The other two joining Spencer at the World Championships are Natasha Hastings (49.94) and Francena McCorory (50.01).
Spencer finishes her outstanding sophomore season for the Fighting Illini as a NCAA champion (400m), three-time All-American (400m indoors, 400m & 4x400m outdoors), six-time Big Ten Champion, Illinois' Female Dike Eddleman Award winner and a part of four school records.
Spencer, who is the current reigning World Junior champion will compete at her first World Senior Championships this summer. Her selection in the individual 400m will also place her in the 400m relay pool. Team USA is the reigning World Champions in the 4x4 from the 2011 Daegu Championships. She is also the first female Illini to make Team USA since Gia Lewis (discus) achieved the feat in 2011.
400m Final at USA Senior Outdoor Championships