Freshman and six-time Big Ten champion Ashley Spencer is one of the standout athletes for the No. 18 Illinois track and field team.
May 15, 2012
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - The Illinois women's track and field team cracked the U.S. Track and Field and Cross Country Coaches Association's (USTFCCCA) regular season final poll, earning the No. 18 spot. The Illini are coming off the best finish at both the Big Ten Indoor and Outdoor Championships since the 2007 season.
"It's really exciting going into the national meet ranked in the top-20," head coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. "We moved up higher than any other team in the top-25 so that just shows how well our girls did at the conference meet. This definitely gives us momentum going into the first round of nationals."
The Fighting Illini notched five Big Ten titles last weekend at the outdoor conference meet to finish second overall. The Orange and Blue were led by freshman star Ashley Spencer, who won the 200m, 400m and was part of the winning 4x400m relay team. Senior Latoya Griffith and sophomore Stephanie Richartz both won their first Big Ten titles in the 400m hurdles and pole vault, respectively.
LSU ended the regular season as the No. 1 team in the country, followed by Kansas, Oregon, Florida and Clemson to round out the top five. Ohio State is the only other Big Ten team in the poll, coming in at No. 22.
Up Next: The Illinois women's track and field team will head to Austin, Texas in two weeks for the NCAA West Preliminary Round of Championships from May 24-26 at the University of Texas. The Illini athletes who qualify for the opening round of competition will be announced later this week.