Women's Distance Medley Relay Takes First at Drake Relays
Kristen Zillmer
Kristen Zillmer

April 27, 2012

DES MOINES, Iowa - Kristen Zillmer, Sade Sealy, Jil Kerkman and Aisha Praught crafted together an 11:19.14 distance medley relay at the 2012 Drake Relays, winning the event in a sprint finish, as the Illinois State men's and No. 12-ranked women's track & field teams wrap up day two of competition.

Zillmer kept the Redbirds on track early in the distance medley, pacing it out with some of the nation's best, only to hand the baton off to the reigning Missouri Valley Conference champion in the 400-meter dash, Sealy, for the 400 leg of the event. Sealy managed to pick off a number of competitors en route to an exchange with Kerkman for the 800-meter leg, where she too managed to slide ahead of other runners. Coming down to the last and final leg, the mile, Illinois State sat in second off the exchange to Praught, the NCAA runner-up in the indoor mile. Praught and Nebraska's Ashley Miller ran side by side the entire leg until the final turn where Praught made a move. Miller rebounded, but was unable to run down Praught in a sprint finish, who ran a 4:39.00 split, as the Redbirds claimed their first distance medley relay title at the Drake Relays, breaking the school record in the process.

Head track & field coach Elvis Forde was proud of the relay the women put together.

"Anytime you can win at the Drake Relays, it's something special," said Forde. "These ladies put together one of the finest races I have seen in my tenure at Illinois State, and this is something they will always remember. Everyone generally puts together their best distance relay to run at Drake, and to come out on top, that is saying something about our distance women. This is something that can never be taken away from them."



The distance medley relay wasn't the only event to make some noise for the Redbirds on a day that produced cold temperatures and strong winds upwards of 25 mph. Brittany Smith molded together two solid efforts, one in the shot put where she took second to NCAA Indoor Champion and nation leading Tia Brooks of Oklahoma with a mark of 57-05.00, only to come back and battle the winds in the discus, finishing seventh with a mark of 171-10.

The winds seemed to be the toughest on the javelin throwers, as they were forced to take the wind head on. Tim Glover ended his winning-streak, taking second in the eventwith a throw of 229-10, while women's javelin thrower Leigh Petranoff claimed second to nation leading Brittany Borman of Oklahoma with a mark of 165-10. However, the wind didn't seem to effect Curt Jensen in the shot put as he shattered the school record in the throwing a career-best 60-10.50, finishing fourth.

"Our throwers had it tough today with the conditions they were faced with," said Forde. "They not only had to go up against the nation's best today, but they had to battle the tough winds throughout every throw. I think the javelin throwers had it the worst, but they all put forth solid efforts. Curt [Jensen] finally broke the 60-feet mark in the shot put, which is something he has been capable of for a long time. We canbuild off these performances and carry them over into the conference meet in two weeks."

The meet for the Redbirds actually started yesterday, as they competed in just two events. Jon Roberts ran a personal-best in the 10,000-meter run, posting a time 31:08.52 and the women put together a 4X1,600-meter relay that posted a time of 19:59.84, for ninth.

The meet continues tomorrow for Illinois State as they will take part in a couple of relay events before Smith takes to the ring for the hammer throw and Praught takes to the line for the 1,500-meter run.Fans can follow live updates of the meet online via live results or throughTwitter at @ISURedbirds and @ISU_Track_XC. A live video stream will also beavailable for those willing to pay per view through Drake's All-Access package online. Complete results of the meet will be provided following the conclusion of the final day and will be posted online on GoRedbirds.com.

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