Illini Host Orange and Blue Open on Saturday
Feb. 3, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's track and field team will host the Orange and Blue Open on Saturday, Feb, 4 at the UI Armory. The field events begin at 10:00 a.m. C.T, with the running starting at 12:00 p.m. C.T. Illinois will be joined by four other teams including Western Kentucky, Arkansas State, Western Illinois and Vincennes College. A full schedule of events and heat sheets can be found above.
"A lot of our athletes will rest this weekend as we have a big meet in the Tyson Invitational next week," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. We're approaching our meet this weekend from a different angle. We're moving athletes around and having them run different events and focusing on specific areas of improvement."
The meet on Saturday will also serve as Illinois' Senior Day as they honor eight athletes. The recognition will take place between the men and women's 3,000m race around 4:30 p.m. Also, select Illinois athletes will be available to sign posters at the finish line at the end of the meet.
The 60m dash will kick off the action in the track events for the Fighting Illini with sophomore Moriyike Akinosun and junior Tyler Burke leading the pack. Junior Marissa Golliday will join sophomores Jesica Ejesieme and Breeana Coleman in the 60m hurdles. Akinosun and Burke are also scheduled to run the 200m along with junior Kayla Smith. Freshman Asia Thomas will be the lone Illini to run the 400m.
This meet will feature a special race in the Women's Gary Winckler Invitational 60m hurdle finals. The competitors hold four of the top five fastest times in the Big Ten this year with Ohio State's Christina Manning holding the nations fastest time in the event. Former Illinois hurdlers, Tiffany Nesfield and Tamika Robinson will also compete in the race. Also running are two time indoor national champion, Tiffany Porter, formerly of Michigan and Natasha Ruddock of Texas A&M who finished fourth at the 2010 indoor national championships. The race is scheduled for 2:50 p.m.
"We have a really stellar group of athletes coming in for the 60m hurdles," Buford-Bailey said. "Our hurdlers are looking to run personal bests and are excited to run against really great competition."
Seniors Ryisha Boyd and Jayla McArthur along with sophomore Amanda Duvendack look to compete in the 600m with sophomore Megumi Hoshi running in the 800m. Junior Stephanie Brown will run the mile while six Illini will run in the 3000m.
Several Illini field event athletes will be participating as Illinois school record holder in the pole vault and reigning Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week, Stephanie Richartz will highlight the action. Juniors Marissa Golliday and Kristin Morrison will compete in the high jump along with Kawanna Brooks and sophomore Morgan Wood in the long jump. Brooks will also be a contender in the triple jump with teammate Alexandria Smith. The Fighting Illini will have two throwers in the shot put and weight throw in sophomores Kristen Wilson and Mariah Smith.
Next weekend the Illini will head to Fayetteville, Ark., for the Tyson Invitational.