Records, PRs Fall After Day One of the GVSU Big Meet

Feb. 8, 2013

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ALLENDALE, Mich. - The women's 4X400-meter relay team broke the school record and a number of other Redbirds set new personal-best marks, as the Illinois State men's and No.-26 ranked women's track & field teams concluded day one of competition at the GVSU Big Meet at the Kelly Family Sports Complex on the campus of Grand Valley State.

Head track & field coach Elvis Forde feels the teams are beginning to find their strides as the conference meet approaches.

"I saw some great things today from those who competed," Forde said. "Those who competed today performed well and it will pay dividends in two weeks as we head into the conference championships. I was impressed with the way our women's 4X400-meter relay squad looked, especially with Kristen Zillmer doubling-back from the 800-meter run. I am excited to see how everyone looks tomorrow and progresses the next two weeks."

The relay team of Printassia Johnson, Shandel Ellis, Zillmer and Sade Sealy, ran to a second-place finish with a time of 3:42.68, a full second faster than the previous school mark set exactly one year ago at this same meet. That time moved the squad to a No. 2 ranking in the Missouri Valley Conference, just 16-hundreths of a second behind the Indiana State Sycamores.

Before the 4X400-meter relay, Zillmer ran to an impressive second-place finish in the 800-meter run, turning in a personal-best time of 2:10.82, five seconds faster than her previous career-best, ranking her No. 2 in the Valley. Fellow distance crew member, Rachael Brewer posted a personal-best performance of her own, running away from the field in the 3,000-meter run. Brewer took the top spot in the race, turning in a time of 9:39.81, which is 10 seconds faster than her career-best set earlier this year at the Indiana State Dual (Jan. 12).

Other members of the women's distance crew posted personal-best performances. Kim Christensen followed suit in the 3,000-meter run, turning in a time of 9:53.95 for eighth place, which was 26 seconds faster than her previous career-best. Kelly McShea was the lone sole to run in the 5,000-meter run, as she turned in a personal-best performance of 17:08.40, ranking her No. 3 in the Valley.

The women's sprint crew looked solid on the day as well, with Johnson posting a personal-best time of 24.55 in the 200-meter dash, tying Sealy on the Valley charts for fifth place. Sealy turned in a first-place time of 54.29, just shy of her season best, in the 400-meter dash, doubling back in the 200-meter dash to turn in a time of 24.80.

Brittany Smith held her own in the throwing events, finishing runner-up to the No. 1 thrower in Division II, Sam Lockhart of Grand Valley State, in the weight throw, finishing with a mark of 67-09.50 (20.66m), before turning around and beating her in the shot put with a mark of 55-11.00 (17.04m).

The men's distance trio of Tyler Morse, Ryan Rutherford and Sean Senf continued the string of solid performances they have been putting together, as they toed the line in the 3,000-meter run. Morse was the first Redbird to cross the line, finishing with a time of 8:27.66, 19 seconds faster than his previous best set at the Redbird Invite (Jan. 26) earlier this year. Rutherford wasn't too far behind, turning in a time of 8:29.94, 10 seconds better than his best, while Senf ran a time of 8:36.56.

For the fourth-consecutive race at the 800-meter distance, sophomore Tyler Rippel once again set a career-best time, turning in a performance of 1:54.22, ranking him No. 9 in the MVC. Coty Kramer also turned in a solid performance in the 400-meter dash, finishing with a time of 49.16.

The Redbirds will be back in action tomorrow, as they compete in the final day of the GVSU Big Meet. Fans wishing to follow the live action can do so on or on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.