Second Day Improvements Lead Redbirds to Personal-Bests
Feb. 8, 2014
SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The Illinois State men’s and women’s track and field teams wrapped up its competition Saturday evening with much improvement and multiple personal-best times at the Loftus Center at the Meyo Invitational.
“Today was a much better day than yesterday,” head coach Elvis Forde said. “I thought it was important that all the kids who ran today did a great job.”
Dave Eckhart opened up his race day with the mile run, beating his season-best time by milliseconds to finish 10th overall with a time of 4:11.18. Eckhart followed up his mile with an 800-meter time of 1:57.52. Aidan Askin and CJ Hamilton joined Eckhart on the track in the 800-meter race, finishing with times of 1:54.70 and 1:51.32, respectively. Hamilton’s race earned him a personal-best time in the 800-meter run and a fifth-place finish in a competitive field of 54.
Anderson Devonish was just shy of a personal-best 400-meter time, finishing with a run of 48.44. Devonish joined Antonio Farley, Javar Cruz and Coty Kramer in the men’s 4X400-meter relay, as the foursome finished with a season-best time of 3:18.24.
“I was pleasantly happy with all of the guys that ran in the 400-meter relay,” Forde said. “They all raced under 50 seconds today, and Anderson, especially, finished under 49 seconds. We know that we have not done a lot of speed work, but with time, all of these times will drop. It was nice to see the four of them put it together in the 4X400. It was a really special race.”
In the women’s Invitational pole vault, Julia Ott finished sixth overall with a leap of 3.90m (12-09.50). Ott vaulted past her first two heights, but could not clear her personal-best mark of 4.05m (13-03.50).
Prior to the 4X400-meter relay, Ellis captured a personal-best and Missouri Valley Conference leading 400-meter time of 55.50, while Zillmer notched a time of 2:12.05 in the women’s Invitational 800-meter race.
“Converted soccer player, Sarah Mussallem ran the 400-meter race for the first time,” Forde said. “I don’t think she understands how good that is being pretty much new to the sport and also running a personal-best 200-meter race. That was a really special treat to see her have that kind of performance. Ally is also starting to find herself in the 200 and 400. She has had injuries and might have some stage fright every now and then, but she is starting to come along very well. I think she is starting to get it. She came back and ran a great leg of the relay. There were technical errors that caught us in the relay, but all four of them ran a lot this weekend. There are a lot of positives though, and I know they will keep growing.”
Other members of the Redbird track and field team also finished up competition today at the Keck Invitational hosted by Illinois Wesleyan. Kimi Sanden finished second in the 800-meter run with a time of 2:22.03 and third with a mile time of 5:17.68, while Haley Verbeke notched a first-place 3,000-meter time of 10:35.70.
The Redbirds are back in action Feb. 14-15, as they travel to Ames, Iowa for the Iowa State Classic.
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