The Illinois State track and field team shines in both meets this weekend.
Multiple Redbirds hit personal-bests on the first night of Valentine's weekend.
The webcast will feature Illinois State fall sport previews and interviews with coaches and student-athletes.
Women picked to finish third, men sixth
Redbirds finish with three titles, two school records
Day 1 at the 2013 MVC Outdoor Championships
2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships | Day3
Jeff Bovee has built a name for himself in Redbird cross country and track and field history, capturing back-to-back Missouri Valley Conference cross country titles (2011 and 2012) and building the program to its successful state today. Bovee's years of experience in the cross country realm, have proven he knows how to push student-athletes to a higher level.
In 2006, Bovee was named the head cross country coach and assistant track & field coach in charge of distance at Illinois State. Since then, the 2011 Missouri Valley Conference Cross Country Coach of the Year, has been promoted to associate head coach of track and field, working alongside Elvis Forde, director of track & field and cross country.
Bovee has coached the distance crew to 62 All-Valley performances, including 12 Missouri Valley Conference Individual Championships.
His best year at the helm of training the distance runners came in 2011-12, where he led the women's cross country team to its first-ever conference title since the Gateway Conference was absorbed by the Missouri Valley Conference in 1992. This conference title came after years of building a successful women's program which finished second in 2009 and again in 2010. From 2007-10, he coached the men's team to four-consecutive top-three finishes in the Valley, with its best finish coming in 2007 when they placed second.
In addition to their All-Valley performances in cross country in 2011, Elise Sigg and Praught went on to finish in the top-25 at the NCAA Division I Midwest Region Cross Country Championship, earning All-Midwest Regional honors, a first since Sue Daggett claimed regional and national honors in 1996.
That was carried over into the indoor track & field season where he played an intricate role in developing Praught, who became the first NCAA Qualifier on the track since Christian Goy in 2002. Praught broke every Illinois State and Missouri Valley Conference record in the mile, running a personal-best 4:37.77 en route to a NCAA Division I Runner-up performance at the NCAA Indoor Track & Field Championships in Boise, Idaho.
Following a remarkable 2011 season, Bovee coached the women's team to four individual All-Valley performances, including a runner-up performance by Rachael Brewer. Brewer went on to finish in the top-25 at the NCAA Midwest Regional meet, earning All-Midwest honors.
On the track and field circuit, Bovee coached the 2011 indoor women's distance medley relay to its third-consecutive conference title, leading wire-to-wire to take home the crown. Praught followed with her own championship in the mile, before Smoody won his second-straight in the 800-meter run. In all, the distance runners turned in nine All-Valley performances, with the women's distance crew scoring a total of 69 points.
Bovee continued his coaching prowess on the outdoor track, as his runners claimed two conference titles and turned in seven Valley performances. In the process, the crew produced eight NCAA track & field regional qualifiers (seven in the women's 3,000-meter steeplechase). In the 2012 outdoor season, Bovee guided Kristen Zillmer to a NCAA Outdoor Championships appearance in the steeplechase, where she finished 22nd overall in the event, helping her team to a national-ranking.
Bovee also helped guide Praught to an Olympic trials qualification, after she ran a 9:51.30 at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays in the steeplechase, breaking the MVC and Illinois State records, while holding down the No. 6 spot in the world for three-consecutive weeks. That time was the second-fastest time in the collegiate ranks all season.
Off the track, Bovee has also shown his passion for academics, as his cross country teams have earned eight U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association (USTFCCCA) All-Academic honors (Men: 2008, 2010; Women: 2007, 2008, 2009, 2010, 2011,2012). Individually, Praught was named to the USTFCCCA All-Academic team for her performances in 2011-12, along with Brewer who was named to the team in 2012. Praught was also named to the prestigious Capital One Academic All-District V team in 2011.
During his tenure at Central College, Bovee coached four NCAA Division III All-Americans in track, one cross country All-American, as well as eight NCAA Championships qualifiers. In addition, he coached runners that earned USTFCCCA Division III All-Region honors five times.
Prior to coaching at Central College, Bovee was the head track and field and cross country coach at Parkland Junior College in Champaign, Ill., from 1996-2000. Bovee guided the men's and women's track & field and cross country teams to 12 regional titles. Bovee's teams also placed in the National Junior College Athletic Association (NJCAA) top-five in cross country and the top-15 in track & field during his final two seasons. More than 30 of Bovee's student-athletes earned junior college All-American status, and 15 were named academic All-Americans.
His successful tenure at Parkland also included coaching the NJCAA Women's Cross Country Individual National Champion in 1999.
A native of Glendale, Ariz., Bovee received a Bachelor's degree in physical education from Arizona in 1993, where he competed as a student-athlete in track & field and cross country. Bovee was the co-captain of the Wildcat track and field team for two seasons and was a Pac-10 Conference placewinner in the 800-meters in track and an NCAA national meet participant in cross country.
Bovee received his Master's degree in physical education from Eastern Illinois in 1996, while he worked with the men's and women's track and field programs as a graduate assistant from 1995-96.
Bovee holds a USTFCCCA Level I certification in coaching and officiating. He is also a member of the American Alliance for Health Physical Education, Recreation and Dance (AAHPERD) and the USTFCCCA.
Bovee and his wife, Tracy, reside in Normal, Ill., with their three sons, Aidan (12), Jace (9) and Liam (4).