Illinois Travels to Meyo Invitational
Feb. 7, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Illinois women's track and field team is back in action this weekend when they travel to South Bend, Ind. for the Meyo Invitational on Feb. 7-8. The Orange and Blue had off last weekend, but recorded 10 top-10 finishes and set nine personal-bests at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational on Jan. 24-25. The Illini will face tough competition this weekend, as No. 14 Purdue, No. 16 Kent State and No. 18 Michigan will make the trip to South Bend, along with Big Ten opponents Michigan State, Indiana and Northwestern.
"We're excited about the Meyo Invitational this weekend," said head coach Ron Garner. "When our staff started planning for this season in the fall, we believed that this particular meet would fit our needs. We targeted this competition and facility as an opportunity prepare our team for the Big Ten Championships and to qualify for the NCAA Championships. This meet and facility has produced some of the nation's top performance the past several years."
The action begins Friday at 3:00 p.m. with the unseeded pole vault competition, featuring Jennifer DeBellis and Nicole DeMarias. At the Rod McCravy Memorial Invite, DeBellis reached a mark of 3.73m, a personal-best for the sophomore and the eighth-best mark in school history. Two other field events are set to begin at 3:00 p.m., as Samone Thompson, Kawanna Brooks and Mobolaji Adeokun compete in the long jump while Mariah Smith competes in the weight throw. At 5:00 p.m., Kandie Bloch-Jones will represent the Illini in the high jump after placing third at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational. Her mark of 1.77m currently ranks second in the Big Ten, and is the sixth-best mark in school history.
Kawanna Brooks, Jesica Ejesieme, Mobolaji Adeokun and Samone Thompson will kick of the running events at 4:00 p.m., competing in the trials of the 60m hurdles. Runners with the top 12 times will advance to the semifinals, which will take place at 6:50 p.m. later that night. Brooks and Adeokun will also join teammate Kymbriona Taylor in the 60m dash trials at 4:50 p.m, with the top-12 times advancing to the semifinals at 7:00 p.m. Alyssa Schneider has had tremendous success in both the mile and the 3,000m run this season, entering Illinois' all-time top-10 list in both events, and will try to do the same in the 5,000m at 5:30 p.m. In Illinois' final event of the day, Michelle Frigo will compete in the 1,000m run at 7:40 p.m.
Amanda Fox and Colette Falsey will compete in Saturday's first running event, the unseeded 3,000m at 9:00 a.m., followed by Stephanie Morgan, Courtney Ackerman and Britten Petrey in the mile run less than an hour later. Kristen Wilson will compete in the shot put at 10:00 a.m., while defending Big Ten champion Stephanie Richartz will maker her season debut in the invitational section of the pole vault at 10:30 a.m. Jesica Ejesieme will compete in her second 400m race of the season at 10:30 a.m., while Nicole Choquette will compete in the unseeded 800m run at 11:20 a.m. In the unseeded 200m, Mobolaji Adeokun will make her season debut in the event alongside Kymbriona Taylor.
Asia Thomas will compete in the 400m invitational section at 2:30 p.m. after setting a season-best time of 55.43 at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational. At 2:40 p.m. three Illini will compete in the invitational 800m, including Amanda Duvendack, who placed third at the Rod McCravy Memorial Invitational. Her time of 2:07.06 is the fourth-fastest in school history and is currently ranked second in the Big Ten. Duvendack will be joined by teammates Ahlivia Spencer and Chloe Schmidt in the event. After clocking a personal-best time at the Rod McCravy Memorial, Asia Thomas will compete in the invitational section of the 200m at 3:00 p.m. In the final event of the day, the 4x400m relay squad of Thomas, Amanda Duvendack, Jesica Ejesieme and Ahlivia Spencer will compete at 3:40 p.m.
"Our athletes have worked very hard in training," said Garner. "We've continued to improve weekly and with each competition. We believe that this will be a very positive experience."