#18 Illinois Athletes Head to Three Meets This Weekend
April 17, 2013
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The No. 18 Illinois women's track and field team will send athletes to three meets this weekend, with the majority of the squad set to compete at LSU's Alumni Gold Meet on April 20. A group of distance runners are scheduled to race at the Jesse Owens Classic in Columbus, Ohio, April 19-20 while two multi-event athletes will compete in the heptathlon at the Mt. SAC Relays in Walnut, Calif., April 18-20.
"We are really looking forward to this weekend," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "LSU is always a great meet for us and year after year we leave there with good season marks. We are still struggling here a bit with the climate so it makes this meet even more important this season to be able to get outdoors and race. The Alumni Gold meet brings together the best collegiate and post-collegiate athletes along with Olympians so that atmosphere is a great one of our ladies."
At the LSU Alumni Gold Meet, freshman Morolake Akinosun will lead the pack in the 100m and 200m, holding the fastest and second best times in the Big Ten this season, respectively. Sophomore Asia Thomas highlights the 400m, as she set the second best time in the conference a few weeks ago. Four Illini will compete in the middle distances as junior Samantha Murphy owns the second fastest time in the Big Ten and looks to improve her time this weekend along with junior Ahlivia Spencer who also ranks among the top-five in the conference in the event.
Junior Breeana Coleman set a season best 100m hurdles time two weeks ago, and seeks improvement on her already second best time in the Big Ten. Sophomore Ashley Spencer highlights the 400m hurdles as the defending Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week currently has the fourth fastest time in the nation and leads the Big Ten in the event by over two seconds. Junior Jesica Ejesieme will also compete in both hurdle races.
The Big Ten leading 4x100m relay competitors scheduled to run include senior Lauren Hollingsworth, Thomas, Akinosun and Ashley Spencer. The 4x400m relay is expected to feature Akinosun, Thomas and both Spencer sisters.
Junior Stephanie Richartz is tied for the sixth best pole vault mark in the country and will be one of three Illini to improve their mark this weekend, while junior Kristen Wilson will compete in the shot put for the second time this season. Freshman Jazjuan Wallace-Sipp and sophomore Mariah Smith will compete in the discus throw as Sipp currently holds the top mark on the team.
Seven athletes will compete at the Jesse Owens Classic with the meet beginning on Friday with freshman Lela Dimonte competing in the javelin throw, five Illini running the 1,500m and Britten Petrey scheduled to compete in the 3,000m steeplechase. Senior Madeline Aufmann, junior Stephanie Morgan and junior Katie Porada will wrap things up on Saturday as they look to lower their 800m times.
Results and a recap following the completion of the meets can be found on fightingillini.com. Next weekend, the team will compete at Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa on April 26-28.