Zillmer Falls Short in National Debut
Kristen Zillmer
Kristen Zillmer

June 6, 2013

EUGENE, Ore. - Junior Kristen Zillmer's national debut in the 3,000-meter steeplechase fell short, as the Illinois State men's and women's track & field teams ended day two of the 2013 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships at historic Hayward Field Thursday evening.

Head track & field coach Elvis Forde hopes this is a learning experience for Zillmer that she can carry with her into next season.

"Zillmer had a tough one out there today," Forde said. "I think sometimes when you are here for the first time, it takes a lot out of you, and I believe the nerves more than anything got the better of her today. She is much better than how she performed today and hopefully this will be a tremendous learning experience for her that she can share with her teammates and carry into next year with a renewed spirit. She now knows the difficulty of the race on the national stage and has the next year to prepare for it again and come back her senior season to perform much better."

Zillmer entered the day ranked 14th in the event after her 10:04.51 showing at the West Region Preliminary Round two weeks ago in Texas. Faced with temperatures in the mid-80s and a heat comprised of five of the top steeplers in the nation, Zillmer found herself battling for a spot into Saturday's finals.

She ran controlled in the main pack through the first three laps of the race, before fading back into seventh place in her heat with four and a half laps to go. She held it together through the remainder of the race, but found herself in 11th place in her heat and 22nd overall at the conclusion of the event. Her time of 10:33.01 was off her usual pace, as she posted times of 10:14.83, 10:26.88 and 10:04.51, respectively, throughout the course of the season.

The Redbirds will have the day off Friday, before returning to Hayward Field Saturday afternoon for an action-packed final day of the NCAA Championships. Tim Glover will attempt to defend his title in the javelin for the second time and become only the third person in NCAA history to three-peat in the event, while Brittany Smith will make a run at her first title in the shot put. Glover's competition begins at 12:30 p.m. (2:30 p.m. CST), while Smith's begins at 1 p.m. (3 p.m. CST).



Fans wishing to follow the action can do so on GoRedbirds.com or on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC. A complete meet schedule, broadcast schedule, heat sheets, start lists and rankings can be found on GoRedbirds.com at the track & field meet central page.

GoRedbirds.com: Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.