Senior Tamika Robinson and the Illini head to Purdue for the Big Ten Indoor Championships this weekend.
Feb. 24, 2011
2011 Big Ten Women's Indoor Track & Field Championships
Saturday, Feb. 26 - Sunday, Feb. 27
Lambert Fieldhouse // West Lafayette, Ind.
The Illinois women's track and field team heads to West Lafayette, Ind., for the Big Ten Indoor Championships this weekend at Purdue's Lambert Fieldhouse from Feb. 26-27. The meet kicks off Saturday at 9 a.m. CT with the start of the pentathlon followed by the running trials, which are set to begin at 1:30 p.m. Finals of the pentathlon, shot put, pole vault, long jump, 3,000m and distance medley relay will all take place on Saturday. Meet action resumes at noon on Sunday for the weight throw, with running finals scheduled to begin at 1 p.m. The final event of the meet, the 4x400m relay, is scheduled to start at 3:30 p.m. on Sunday. Live results will be available throughout the meet and linked on fightingillini.com
The 2011 Big Ten Women's Indoor Track and Field Championships will be televised tape-delayed by the Big Ten Network on Saturday, March 12 at 4 p.m. CT. The meet will be called by Rebecca Haarlow, Larra Overton and Kara Lentz.
Illinois History at the Big Ten Indoor Championships
The Fighting Illini have won a total of five Big Ten indoor team titles since the women's championships began in 1982, with the most recent coming in 1996. Illinois has also won a total of 25 individual indoor titles in field events, tied for most in the Big Ten. They also have earned the second-most relay crowns (10) and third-most track titles (36), giving them the second-most total individual titles (71) in the conference.
Illinois finished seventh at the 2010 Big Ten Indoor Championships with 67 points, as Penn State took home the team title with 111 points. The Illini won a trio of Big Ten titles, with former Illini Angela Bizzarri winning the 3,000m and 5,000m crown and Aja Evans capturing the shot put title and earning co-Field Athlete of the Championships honors. Alecia Beckford-Stewart added a second-place showing while the 4x400m relay squad of Ryisha Boyd, Ashley Kelly, Marissa Golliday and Melissa Bates, who are all back this season, posted a runner-up finish in the event.
Head Coach Tonja Buford-Bailey on the Big Ten Indoor Championships
"We are sitting well enough on the conference list that if each individual does her job, we can have a really good meet. I just want everyone to compete and run at their season best to help us gain every point we can. We look pretty strong in the 200m and 400m along with having Tamika Robinson in a good position in the 60m and 60m hurdles. We also have a pair of solid runners in the 800m in Stephanie Morgan and Samantha Murphy. Our pole vaulters have a chance to score along with Kendall McCaugherty in the high jump and Elizabeth Boyle in the distance races. I also expect good performances out of our DMR and 4x400m relay."
Illini Athletes to Watch:
Melissa Bates, Sprints (Sr., Grand Prairie, Texas)
Senior Melissa Bates, a returning Big Ten scorer, will look to make her mark at the final Big Ten Indoor Championships of her career. She is slotted to run the 200m and 400m while also anchoring the 4x400m relay and triple jumping at the conference meet for the first time since her freshman year. Bates ranks in the top 10 in the conference in the 200m with a season-best time of 24.34 and sits at No. 6 in the Big Ten in the 400m with a season-best converted time of 55.06.
Ashley Kelly, Sprints (Jr., Chicago, Ill.)
Junior Ashley Kelly turned in the highlight of the indoor season by setting the school record in the 400m with a personal-best time of 53.59 to win the event at the Meyo Invitational. That mark broke Yvonne Harrison's old school record mark of 53.80 from 1998 and currently ranks second in the conference behind only Shavon Greaves (53.53) and No. 14 in the NCAA. Last year, Kelly finished fourth in the 400m to score for the first time at Big Tens individually. Kelly also holds Illinois' top 200m mark with a converted time of 24.05, which is the fourth-fastest in the Big Ten, and will run on the squad's 4x400m relay.
Kendall McCaugherty, High Jump (Jr., Bridgeport, W. Va.)
Junior Kendall McCaugherty will attempt to score for the first time at a Big Ten meet after just missing the top eight at the outdoor conference meet a year ago. McCaugherty has improved with each season and posted a personal-best mark of 5-9 1/4 (1.76m) at the Illinois Intercollegiate. That mark currently ranks fourth in the Big Ten.
Stephanie Morgan (So., Barnesville, Ohio)
Sophomore Stephanie Morgan, a transfer from Baylor, was an All-Region runner during the 2010 cross country season and will look to carry that momentum into the track postseason. She currently rates sixth in the conference in the 800m after a personal-best converted time of 2:08.78.
Tamika Robinson, Hurdles / Sprints (Sr., Chicago, Ill.)
Senior Tamika Robinson, a national qualifier in the 60m hurdles and an All-American in the 100m hurdles a year ago, is among the top three in the conference in her two events. The Chicago, Ill., native clocked a personal-best time of 8.17 at the Illini Classic, which ranks as the fifth-fastest time in school history. That mark also ranks No. 2 in the conference behind only Ohio State's Christina Manning (8.13). In the 60m dash, she timed a personal-best mark of 7.41 at the Meyo Invitational, which checks in as the third-fastest Big Ten time after Manning (7.40) and Penn State's Shavon Greaves (7.33). Robinson began the season undefeated through the first three home meets, winning both the 60m and 60m hurdles title at each. At the Meyo Invitational, she posted a runner-up finish in the 60m dash and took third in the 60m hurdles.
An event they have traditionally been very successful in, the Illini are hoping for repeat success after a second-place showing in the event at the 2010 Big Ten Championships. The 4x400m relay squad of juniors Ryisha Boyd and Ashley Kelly, senior Melissa Bates and sophomore Marissa Golliday come into this weekend with the third-fastest time in the conference after posting a season-best mark of 3:40.15 at the Tyson Invitational. The only two schools with quicker marks this season are Iowa (3:39.15) and Penn State (3:37.25).
Illini Move into the Top 10 in School History
Several Illini have posted performances ranking among the top 10 in school history this season. Junior Ashley Kelly tallied a school record with a time of 53.59 in the 400m while senior Tamika Robinson turned in a top-five time in the 60m hurdles with a personal-best time of 8.17. Robinson also tied the seventh-fastest 60m dash time with her mark of 7.41. In the 600m, freshman Samantha Murphy ranks No. 6 in program history with her time of 1:32.29. Murphy (2:10.21) also made her way into the 800m records along with sophomore Stephanie Morgan (2:09.78), with the pair ranking ninth and eighth, respectively. Morgan's mile time of 4:45.76 also made it to No. 7 on the list. The distance medley relay of freshman Katie Porada, sophomore Marissa Golliday, freshman Samantha Murphy and sophomore Stephanie Morgan timed the fifth-fastest mark with a time of 11:30.25. In the field events, freshman Stephanie Richartz tied the fourth-best height with her mark of 12-5 1/2 (3.80m) while junior Kendall McCaugherty is seventh in the high jump with her personal-best mark of 5-9 1/4 (1.76m).