Women's Cross Country, Track & Field
Illini Set for First Road Trip of the Season

Ahlivia Spencer will compete in the 800m run for the first time this season after placing third at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.
Ahlivia Spencer will compete in the 800m run for the first time this season after placing third at the 2013 Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Jan. 24, 2014

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CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois women's track and field team will be back in action this weekend when they travel to Lexington, Ky. for the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational on Jan. 24-25. This will be the first road trip of the season for the Illini, as the Orange and Blue have hosted the first two meets.

The USTFCCCA has named this weekend's meet its Division I National Meet of the Week based on the outstanding sprints/hurdles match-ups and the concentration of top-25 teams. Among the field will be three nationally-ranked teams, including No. 3 Florida, No. 4 Oregon and No. 6 Kentucky.

Illinois will have several athletes competing in individual events on Friday, beginning with junior Mariah Smith in the weight throw at 2 p.m. CT. Illini Open champion Kawanna Brooks will compete in the long jump, alongside teammates Samone Thompson and Mobolaji Adeokun. At 2:50 p.m., senior Jesica Ejesieme, junior Asia Thomas and freshman Kymbriona Taylor will compete in the 200m dash. Thomas set a new personal best to place second in the event at the Illini Open, while Ejesieme will compete in the event for the first time this season.

Freshman Kandie Bloch-Jones has recorded a first and second place finish in the high jump so far this season, and currently holds the third-best mark in the Big Ten in the event. She will compete at 4:15 p.m., followed by sophomore Jennifer DeBellis and Nicole Demarais in the pole vault at 5 p.m.

Action continues on Saturday with the 60m hurdles prelims. Senior Kawanna Brooks looks to win her third consecutive title in the event, and will be joined by teammates Jesica Ejesieme, Mobolaji Adeokun and Samone Thompson. Brooks will also compete in the 60m dash alongside teammate and Illini Classic champion Kymbriona Taylor. Senior Stephanie Morgan, junior Chloe Schmidt and freshman Courtney Ackerman will represent the Illini in the mile run at at 11:55 a.m., while Asia Thomas seeks to win her second straight title in the 400m dash.

Three Illini will make their season debuts in the 800m run, including seniors Amanda Duvendack and Ahlivia Spencer and freshman Nicole Choquette, while sophomore Michelle Frigo will compete in the event for the second time this season. Duvendack qualified for the NCAA Championships in the event last season, while Spencer placed third in the event at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships. After running the tenth-fastest mile time in school history at the Illini Classic, junior Alyssa Schneider will compete in the 3,000m for the first time this season alongside teammates Colette Falsey and Britten Petrey. The final running event of the day will be the 4x400m relay at 3:15 p.m. Junior Kristen Wilson will compete in the shot put at 11 a.m.

The team will have next weekend off before traveling to South Bend, Ind. for the Notre Dame Meyo Invitational on Feb. 7-8.