Jensen, Zillmer Crowned MVC Champs; Five Earn Valley Honors
Kristen Zillmer
Kristen Zillmer
May 12, 2012

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WICHITA, Kan. - Curt Jensen and Kristen Zillmer were crowned 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Champions in their respective events, as the Illinois State men's and No. 15-ranked women's track & field teams finished day two of competition at Cessna Stadium.

Jensen claimed his title in the shot put in dominating fashion, throwing a career-best and Illinois State record of 61-05.75, three feet further than runner-up Justin Romero of Northern Iowa. His mark was just two inches shy of the conference championships record and moves him into eighth in the NCAA West Region. Zillmer ran to her title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, leading wire-to-wire and turning in a time of 10:35.82. As a result, both earned All-Valley honors.

Head track & field coach Elvis Forde was impressed with the two performances.

"Curt continues to have a spectacular year and now adds a MVC title to his resume. To muster up a monster PR on his last throw, shows how hard he as been working to be where he is at. Kristen on the other hand continues to improve and surprise week in and week out, and it showed today as she picked up where she left off last year in the steeple, this year coming away with the title."

The Redbirds finished one-two-four in the women's steeple with Elise Sigge crossing the line in the second position (10:40.45), while freshman Kelly McShea took fourth with a personal-best time of 10:50.20. Sigg, along with Zillmer, earned Valley honors.

Anthony Wirth and Chirs McIntyre followed Jensen in the shot put, picking up a combined three points toward the men's team total. Wirth had a career-mark of 52-06.50, while McIntyre turned in a throw of 52-11.00. As for the women's shot, Brittany Smith continues her dominance as a Redbird thrower, claiming another runner-up performance with a mark of 56-08.75. Tori Ziegler picked up three points toward the women's team total, throwing 49-05.00 for sixth. Smith earned All-Valley honors with that throw.

The women's high jump proved to be the most exciting on the day with Becky Anderson turning in a performance for the ages. Anderson came into the meet with a season-best mark of 5-05.00, only to leave with a career-mark four inches higher than that. She managed to clear 5-07.75 on her third and final attempt, only to follow by clearing 5-08.75 on her first, which would end up being her best on the day and good enough for third and Valley honors.

The final surprise on the day ended with the women's long jump, where Kendall Rush set a new career-mark of over a foot, while Lita Wynne managed to her personal best. Rush finished sixth with a jump of 18-09.25 and Wynne took sixth with a mark of 18-08.00.

On the track, a plethora of Redbirds managed to qualify for the finals slated for Sunday. In the 110-meter hurdles, Kendric Smith qualified with a time of 14.26. In the 400-meter dash, Sade Sealy (53.96), Alia McAfee (55.70), Shandel Ellis (55.80) and Coty Kramer (48.61) all qualified, while Printassia Johnson (11.97) qualified in the 100-meter dash. Jil Kerkman (2:13.05) and Mat Smoody (1:53.26) solidified their spots in Sunday's 800-meter run finals, while Ellis (23.94), Sealy (24.32) and Johnson (24.39) did it in the 200-meter dash.

As it stands now, the women's team sits in third place with 77 points behind second-place Southern Illinois (78.50) and first-place Wichita State (91.50). The men sit in fifth place with 43 points.

Both teams will be back in action Sunday for the final day of the conference championships. Fans can follow the Redbirds live on GoRedbirds.com on the 2012 MVC Championship Central page, which features a live video broadcast and live Twitter updates via @ISU_Track_XC. Supporters can also follow via @ISURedbirds and live results, which are also posted on the championship page. Complete results of the entire meet will be posted immediately following the meet with a recap of the day's events.

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