Praught Shines in the Steeple at Mt. SAC Relays, Zillmer PRs
April 19, 2012
WALNUT, Calif. - In just her second race of the outdoor season, NCAA runner-up in the indoor mile Aisha Praught ran to a first-place finish in the Olympic development heat of the 3,000-meter steeplechase, eclipsing third overall, with a time of 9:51.30, breaking the ISU and MVC record, while qualifying for the Olympic trials in the process, as the women's distance crew and Jon Roberts finish up competition at the Mt. SAC Relays.
Assistant track & field coach Jeff Bovee couldn't be more impressed by the way this group finished.
"For Praught to go out and run that fast in her first steeplechase of the year, shows just how hard she has been working to get to where she is," said Bovee. "She really ran the perfect race today and put herself out there in the process. Being the first steeple of the season, she still has some room to grow and this is something we can definitely build from."
Praught's 9:51.30 broke the previous Missouri Valley Conference record by 21 seconds (10:12.28) and the ISU record by 32 seconds, while just missing out of the NCAA all-time top-10 by five seconds. Her time ranks her first in the nation by seven seconds, and first in the Valley by 39 seconds. In the process, she hit the Olympic trials A standard (9:55.00) which allows her to compete in the trials in the end of June. She was just eight seconds off the Olympic A standard which would qualify her to represent the United States at the 2012 London Olympics in July if she finished in the top three at the trials.
Prior to Praught's race, sophomore Kristen Zillmer ran a personal-best 10:30.43 in the Open A section of the 3,000 steeplechase, finishing eighth. Her time ranks her second in the Valley behind Praught, and fourth all-time in Illinois State history. As a result, four Redbirds rank atop the leaderboard in the Missouri Valley Conference in the event.
Other competitors on the day were Elise Sigg in the 10,000-meter run and Roberts in the 3,000 steeplechase.
The rest of the Redbirds take on Louisville, Southeast Missouri and Western Kentucky, at the Lenny Lyles Invitational in Louisville, Ky. Fans can follow the teams via Twitter at @ISURedbirds and @ISU_Track_XC. Live results are also available on both GoRedbirds.com and UofLsports.com.
GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.