Sophomore Latoya Griffith will run the 400m hurdles and the third leg of the 4x400m relay at nationals.
June 7, 2010
NCAA Outdoor Championships
Wednesday, June 9 - Saturday, June 12
Hayward Field // Eugene, Ore.
The No. 24 Illinois women's track and field team heads to Eugene, Ore., for the 2010 NCAA Outdoor Championships from June 9-12 at Oregon's historic Hayward Field, where the squad will be represented by eight athletes in seven events. The national meet will be held in Track Town, USA for the first time since 2001 and 10th overall, meaning Eugene will join Chicago as the only city to have hosted at least 10 NCAA Championships.
The Orange and Blue entrants are highlighted by defending NCAA 5,000m champion Angela Bizzarri and returning All-American Aja Evans, who are both scheduled to compete on Friday. After winning the 2009 NCAA cross country title and the 2010 indoor 3,000m title, Bizzarri will attempt to become just the second American and third female distance runner to earn the track and field "triple crown" by winning a cross country, indoor and outdoor national title in the same year. Arizona's Amy Skieresz was the first to accomplish the feat during the 1996-97 season while Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego, who is originally from Kenya, did it twice during the 2006-07 and 2007-08 seasons. Evans eyes her second straight outdoor and fifth career All-America honor in the shot put. She earned her first career outdoor laurel last season with a fifth-place finish and is also a three-time indoor All-American in the event.
Illinois' other entrants include junior Tamika Robinson in the 100m hurdles, sophomore Latoya Griffith in the 400m hurdles, junior Melissa Bates in the 200m and both the 4x100m (Robinson, Ashley Kelly, Kayla Smith, Bates) and 4x400m (Ryisha Boyd, Kelly, Griffith, Bates) relays. Robinson, who qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships in March, will make her first career outdoor appearance at the national meet while Griffith and Bates each individually qualified for the second consecutive season. The 4x400m relay is also back for the second year in a row while the 4x100m relay, which opens up competition for the Illini on Wednesday, will compete at the championships for the first time since 2003. A full schedule of events can be found below.
Live results and video will be available during all four days of the meet and linked on www.fightingillini.com. The meet will be aired live on Friday from 7-9 p.m. CT on CBS College Sports Network and from 12-2 p.m. on Saturday on CBS. NCAA.com will stream the entire championship online.
Schedule for Illini Competing at the NCAA Championships
(All times Central)
Thursday, June 10
6:30 p.m. 200m Semifinal (Melissa Bates)
7:55 p.m. 100m Hurdles Semifinal (Tamika Robinson)
9:05 p.m. 4x400m Relay Semifinal (Ryisha Boyd, Ashley Kelly, Latoya Griffith, Melissa Bates)
Saturday, June 12
12:03 p.m. 4x100m Relay Final
12:41 p.m. 200m Final
1:09 p.m. 100m Hurdles Final
1:40 p.m. 4x400m Relay Final
Illini Athletes at Nationals:
Melissa Bates, (Jr., Grand Prairie, Texas) - 200m, 4x100m and 4x400m Relays
Ran a personal-best time of 23.62 during the 200m quarterfinal of the NCAA West Preliminary Round, which was the 10th-fastest time overall and advanced her to the semifinal ... Will also anchor Illinois' 4x100m and 4x400m relay at the NCAA Championships ... Ran the anchor leg of 4x100m relay for the first time all season at the NCAA West prelims and helped the squad qualify with a time of 44.72 ... Also anchored the 4x400m relay at the NCAA West Prelims and passed two athletes in the final 50 meters of the race, giving the Illini an automatic national bid with a third-place finish in the heat.
200m - Personal-Best: 23.62 (5/29/10)
Angela Bizzarri, (Sr., Mason, Ohio) - 5,000m
Defending NCAA 5,000m champion ... Looks to become only the second American and third female distance runner to earn the "triple crown" by winning a cross country, indoor and outdoor national title in the same year (Arizona's Amy Skieresz and Texas Tech's Sally Kipyego also accomplished the feat) ... Ranked second in the nation in the 5,000m behind Iowa State's Lisa Koll ... Automatically qualified for the NCAA Championships by winning her heat at the NCAA West Preliminary Round with a time of 16:33.81, which was second-fastest at the Mike A. Myers Track Stadium ... Big Ten Track Athlete of the Year ... Won a pair of Big Ten titles in Indiana at the conference championships, including a thrilling win by .01 seconds in the 1,500m and a victory in the 5,000m for the second straight year ... Broke her own school record in the 1,500m victory at Big Tens with a time of 4:15.42 ... Clocked a season-best time of 15:37.21 in the 5,000m at Stanford's Payton Jordan Cardinal Invitational and finished sixth overall in a loaded field, trailing Olympians Shannon Rowbury, Shalane Flanagan and Amy Begley, plus Koll and Canada's Nicole Edwards ... Earned Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week honors on May 5 following her debut in the 5,000m ... Her mark was just four seconds shy of her own school record (15:33.02) in the 5,000m, which she set last year at the USA Championships ... Captured her third national title in the indoor 3,000m, where she edged the favorite Koll down the final stretch ... Picked up a pair of indoor Big Ten titles at Penn State, taking home the 3,000m and 5,000m crowns ... Won the 2009 NCAA cross country title with a 6K school record time of 19:46.8.
5,000m - Personal-Best: 15:33.02 (6/26/09) // Season-Best: 15:37.21 (5/1/10)
Career Accolades: Three-time national champion: outdoor 5,000m in 2009, cross country title in 2009 and indoor 3,000m in 2010 ... Nine-time All-American between cross country and track and field ... Five-time Big Ten champion ... 2009 USTFCCCA National Cross Country Athlete of the Year and Honda Sports Award winner in cross country ... 2009 AAU Sullivan Award finalist, given to the nation's top amateur athlete ... Illinois' 2010 Big Ten Medal of Honor recipient ... Owns seven school records.
Aja Evans, (Sr., Chicago, Ill.) - Shot Put
Qualified for the NCAA Championships after placing sixth with a toss of 53-1 1/2 (16.19m) during preliminaries at the NCAA West Preliminary Round ... Seeded 13th overall heading into the NCAA Championships after the preliminary round ... Her season-best throw of 55-9 (16.99m) is ranked fourth in the nation ... Placed second at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the shot put with a mark of 55-0 1/4 (16.77m) ... Went undefeated in the event during the regular season, taking the top spot at all five meets ... Was named Big Ten Field Athlete of the Week three straight times from April 7 to April 21 and has eclipsed the 55-feet mark in five of her six meets ... Is the Big Ten Championships and school record-holder in the shot put for both indoors and outdoors, setting the indoor mark of 56-0 1/2 (17.08m) this past February at Penn State and the outdoor mark of 55-10 1/2 (17.03m) in 2008 at the Illinois Track Stadium ... Four-time All-American in the shot put, including her third straight indoor laurel this year and first career outdoor honor at last season's NCAA Outdoor Championships, where she placed fifth overall.
Shot Put - Personal-Best: 55-10 1/2; 17.03m (5/17/08) // Season-Best: 55-9; 16.99m (4/17/10)
Latoya Griffith, (So., St. Andrews, Barbados) - 400m Hurdles, 4x400m Relay
Advanced to nationals for the second straight season in the 400m hurdles after clocking a season-best time (58.05) in the quarterfinal round, which was 10th-fastest in the west region ... Placed third at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships in the event for the second consecutive year ... Won three individual titles during the season in the 400m hurdles ... Also will run the third leg of the 4x400m relay, which placed third at Big Tens.
400m Hurdles - Personal-Best: 57.87 (5/29/09) // Season-Best: 58.05 (5/28/10)
Tamika Robinson, (Jr., Chicago, Ill.) - 100m Hurdles, 4x100m Relay
Automatically qualified for the NCAA Outdoor Championships for the first time in her career by winning her quarterfinal heat at the NCAA West Preliminary Round ... Turned in the fastest first-round time in the west region with a personal best 13.06 ... Tallied a runner-up finish in the 100m hurdles at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a time of 13.29 ... Won six individual titles during the regular season ... Also will lead off the 4x100m relay, which placed second at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships ... Competed at the NCAA Indoor Championships in the 60m hurdles.
100m Hurdles - Personal-Best: 13.06 (5/28/10)
4x100m Relay (Tamika Robinson, Ashley Kelly, Kayla Smith, Melissa Bates)
Advanced to the NCAA Championships for the first time since 2003 after running the 11th-fastest time (44.72) at the NCAA West Preliminary Round ... Recorded a season-best time of 44.64 at the LSU Alumni Gold Invitational ... Earned a runner-up finish at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships, placing second behind Penn State with a time of 44.89 ... Picked up three victories on the year at the Mike Poehlein Invitational (45.81), the SeaRay Relays (45.15) and the Illinois Twilight (45.12).
4x100m - Season-Best: 44.64 (4/17/10)
4x400m Relay (Ryisha Boyd, Ashley Kelly, Latoya Griffith, Melissa Bates)
Holds the 16th seed heading into the semifinal race after timing 3:35.27 at the NCAA West quarterfinal round ... Placed third at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with a mark of 3:37.39 ... The quartet of Boyd, Kelly, Griffith and Bates picked up the squad's only victory of the season at the SeaRay Relays with a time of 3:35.90 ... Last year's squad also advanced to nationals, coming out of the NCAA Mideast Regional Championships.
4x400m - Season-Best: 3:34.25 (4/24/10)