Illini Head to Drake Relays and Penn Relays
April 25, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Fighting Illini women's track and field team will compete at the respected Drake Relays in Des Moines, Iowa from April 26-28 along with sending a group of sprinters to the Penn Relays during the same dates. The Illini, who are in action for the final time before the Big Ten Championships, are entered in 11 events, including four relays, at Drake Stadium, which is also the site of the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Championships.
"Both of the meets are relays, so they will be a lot of fun," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "It's a good opportunity for the girls to feel like they're running as a team. I'm excited to get the main relays (4x100 and 4x400) faster. We've run those relays pretty much consistently; I just want a little more improvement. Overall, I think we're right where we need to be before conference."
On Thursday evening, freshman Chloe Schmidt will kick off the competition in the unseeded 800m for the Illini at Drake followed by the 4x1600m relay starting at 4:40 p.m. CT. School record holder Stephanie Richartz and sophomore Elizabeth Eitzen will begin the day for the Orange and Blue on Friday morning in the pole vault before junior Kawanna Brooks will run the 100m hurdles while sophomore's Amanda Duvendack and Samantha Murphy are scheduled to run the seeded 800m final. The Illini will run the finals of the distance medley relay Friday afternoon and the 4x800m later that evening to wrap up competition that day.
Brooks will compete in both the long jump and triple jump on Saturday, after setting a personal-best mark in the long jump last weekend. Sophomore Katie Porada is also coming off a weekend in which she set a career-best in the 1,500m. Porada looks to improve that time as she competes in the event at 5:01 p.m. CT while the 4x400m quartet of junior Marissa Golliday, freshman Asia Thomas, senior Jayla McArthur and Murphy wrap up the Illini's competition Saturday night.
A small group of sprinters will compete at the Penn Relays, starting tomorrow with the 4x100m, 4x400m and senior Latoya Griffith in the 400 hurdles. The 4x100m squad of sophomore Breeana Coleman, senior Ashley Kelly, junior Kayla Smith and freshman Ashley Spencer hold the second fastest time in the Big Ten while Griffith holds the eighth fastest time in the nation in the event and leads the conference. Freshman Jesica Ejesieme and Coleman will compete in the 100m hurdles on Friday and Kelly and Smith will compete for the Illini in the 100m dash. The 4x200m team will feature Ejesieme, Griffith, Smith, Kelly.
Live results will be linked on fightingillini.com, and the meet will be streamed live on www.GoDrakeBulldogs.com for a subscription fee and www.ThePennRelays.com. Full results and a recap following the completion of the meets can be found on fightingillini.com.