#16 Illini Face Loaded Field at Sun Angel Track Classic
April 3, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The No. 16 Fighting Illini women's track and field team will compete a full squad for the first time this outdoor season, in action on Saturday at the 34th Sun Angel Track Classic hosted by Arizona State. The meet is one one of the largest track meets, welcoming over 450 athletes including top high school programs, collegiate, and post-collegiate competition.
"The Sun Angel Classic has always been a great meet with an outstanding amount of competition," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "This is exactly what we need coming off of a very competitive relay weekend. The weather looks to be nice and it's just one more opportunity for our student-athletes to get outdoors and continue to improve upon their marks. After this meet we have a weekend off to get in some good training so it will be nice to put up some good marks or just to see where we are in our progress. Everyone is working on their speciality events so it will be a big eye opener for us."
The Illini sprint crew also eyes improvement and faster times at the meet this weekend. Freshman Morolake Akinosun, who set the second fastest 100m time in school history and was a member of the Big Ten leading 4x100m relay squad at least week's Texas Relays, will run the same pair of events again and expects repeat success. Akinosun will also compete in the 200m along with two other Illini runners, where she holds the conference best time in the event (23.97).
Also, look out for junior Amanda Duvendack in the 800m as she's one of six Illini who are running the event this weekend. Duvendack will be running in the event for the second time this outdoor season, however she already holds the fastest time (2:09.95) in the Big Ten. Also ranked among the conference bests is junior Katie Porada who competed in the 800m last weekend and holds the fourth quickest time in the conference, while junior Samantha Murphy will open up in the event, which she earned All-America honors indoors.
Five Illini will compete in the 100m hurdles as two Orange and Blue are ranked among the best of the conference bests in the event. Junior Breeana Coleman holds the second best time in the conference (13.53) while junior Jesica Ejesieme holds the third fastest in the Big Ten (13.58). In the 400m hurdles, Spencer looks to get another chance to improve upon her personal best as she leads the conference in the event and owns the third fastest time in the country. Ejesieme, who was runner-up at last year's Big Ten meet will also attempt to lower her season's best mark.
After a weekend where both relay's shined, the two own top-10 times in the country and lead the conference. The Illini will mix the relays up a bit by running a 4x100 squad of senior Lauren Hollingsworth, sophomore Asia Thomas, Akinosun and freshman Mobolaji Adeokun. Also keep an eye out for the 4x400 crew of Hollingsworth, Ejesieme, Murphy and Thomas.
Defending Big Ten champion Stephanie Richartz will once again lead the field events as she is tied for the third best mark in the country in the pole vault and is the best in the conference. Also looking for a great performance is senior Elizabeth Eitzen who is tied for the second best mark in the Big Ten, while freshman Jennifer DeBellis seeks another successful meet as she cracked into the top-10 in the school record books with her mark of 3.55m last weekend. Senior's Marissa Golliday and Kristin Morrison will both compete in the long jump and the javelin while sophomore Vicky Pavlou is back in action in the triple jump.
Live results for the Sun Angel Classic can be found at fightingillini.com while a full recap and results will be posted online following the completion of the meet. Next weekend, the Illini will be off before traveling the next week with some athletes heading to the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., others competing at the Jesse Owens Track Classic and more to the LSU Alumni Gold Meet.