Ashley Spencer and Morolake Akinosun will both compete in the 200m this weekend at the Illini Classic.
Jan. 18, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Fighting Illini women's track and field team will continue competition as they host the Illini Classic on Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19 at the UI Armory. The multi-events will begin today at 4:00 p.m. while Saturday will be split into two sessions, with field events beginning at 9 a.m. followed by running events at 11:15 a.m. The track event finals will begin at 2:30 p.m with a senior day recognition taking placing at 4:20 p.m. Admission is free to the public and a full schedule of events and heat sheets can be found above.
"We're coming off a really good weekend last week," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "Now we are going to work on their speciality events. It will give us a good idea of where everyone is before we go on the road starting next weekend. Ashley Spencer will open up in the 200m where she was an All-American indoors. Samantha Murphy ran a really great opener last weekend, so she will look to improve when she competes in the 800m on Saturday. I'll also be looking for Asia Thomas to get her 400m time down. Also, our pole vault crew will be back in action this weekend and I look for Richartz to come back and perform well. Tonight is the multi-events, so it would be great to see Marissa Golliday and Kristin Morrisondo well in their events. They've been working extremely hard."
The Illini will welcome seven other squads to the Illini Classic, including Bradley, Lincoln (Mo.), Marquette, Southern Illinois, Southern Illinois-Edwardsville, Western Illinois and Western Kentucky. The track events in the afternoon session will be on a rolling schedule with the women slated to run first in each event followed by the men.
After finishing first for the Orange and Blue in the 60m and the 200m last weekend at the Illini Open, freshman Morolake Akinosun will compete in the same events on Saturday. Joining Akinosun in the 200m will be sophomore Ashley Spencerwho earned her first All-America status after placing sixth in the event at the NCAA Championships last season. Five different Illini are set to compete in the 200m (4:08 p.m.), all who finished in the top six last weekend.
Junior's Breeana Coleman and Jesica Ejesiemewill compete in the 60m hurdles again this Saturday, as the duo finish two-three to open the season last week. The finals of the 60m hurdles are scheduled for 2:30 p.m.
Asia Thomas, the Illini Open winner in the 400m, will look to improve upon her time as she's the lone Illini in the event while sophomore Chloe Schmidt and junior Ahlivia Spencer will run the 600m. Junior Katie Porada looks for back-to-back victories in the 800m while defending Big Ten co-track athlete of the week honoree Samantha Murphy bumps up an event to join Porada on Saturday. Five Illini are set to run the mile while senior Courtney Yaegerwill open up her final season in the 3,000m. The 3,000m race will begin around 1:45 p.m.
In the field events, Jennifer DeBellis looks to win another pole vault title after taking home the crown at the Illini Open last weekend. Junior Kristen Wilson and sophomore Mariah Smithwill compete for the Illini in the throws event. Wilson is coming off a second-place finish in the shot put at the Illini Open while Smith won the weight throw and moved up to the sixth-best mark in school history.
Senior's Marissa Gollidayand Kristen Morrison will compete in the pentathlon for the Orange and Blue as Golliday looks to repeat as champion. Last year, Golliday won the pentathlon with 3,697 and won three events.
The Illini Classic is the last home meet for 10 Fighting Illini seniors, who will be recognized for their contributions in between the 200m and the 4x400m relays, around 4:20 p.m.
"Seniors are always special to our program because they're our foundation," Buford-Bailey said. "Marissa Golliday, Kristin Morrison and Courtney Yaegerhave been great leaders. It will be special to have our seniors honored. We are all routing for them to have a special last season."
Next weekend, the Illini will travel to Bloomington, Ind., to compete in the Indiana Relays on Friday, Jan. 25 and Saturday, Jan. 26.