Redbirds Open Outdoor Season at the EIU Big Blue Classic

March 30, 2012

 Illinois State at EIU Big Blue Classic | Charleston, Ill.
 Date  March 29-31
 Charleston, Ill.
 Start Time
 2 p.m.
 O'Brien Field
 Meet Schedule  Schedule of Events
 Participants  Friday's Heat Sheets
 Follow  @ISURedbirds | @ISU_Track_XC
 Live Results  Watch Live Results Here

NORMAL, Ill. - After almost a full month’s layover from the indoor season, the Illinois State men’s and women’s track & field teams will travel to Eastern Illinois to compete in the Big Blue Classic at O’Brien Field this weekend.

The meet began with the Neil Moore Multi’s, Thursday, which will conclude Friday afternoon. Action will resume at 2 p.m. on Friday for the men’s and women’s hammer throw. The women’s 400-meter hurdles will kick off the competition on the track starting at 6 p.m. Saturday gets underway with the men’s javelin and women’s discus at 10 a.m., while running events do not start until 11:30 a.m., with the men’s 110-meter hurdle prelims.

Head track & field coach Elvis Forde is excited for the outdoor season to get underway.

“The weather has been optimal the past few weeks of training and has everyone excited to start the outdoor season,” said Forde. “Coming off a solid indoor season, there is great optimism with both teams and they are ready to get their first meet under their belt for the outdoor season. Everyone has been preparing themselves well since the end of indoors and are eager to compete this weekend.”

The Redbird women’s track team finished third at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Indoor Track & Field Championships at the UNI Dome and racked up nine All-Valley performances which included conference titles by Sade Sealy (400-meter dash), Aisha Praught (mile) and the quartet consisting of Ashley Kamin, Jordan Frey, Jil Kerkman and Kristen Zillmer in the distance medley relay. The men’s team finished in sixth place and had six All-Valley performances, including Mat Smoody’s successful defense of his 800-meter title.

On the national stage, three Redbirds went on to represent Illinois State at the 2012 NCAA Division I Indoor Track & Field Championships in Nampa, Idaho. Brittany Smith continued her stellar career as an ISU thrower, finishing third in the women’s weight throw with a mark of 68-06.50 for first-team All-America honors and 15th in the women’s shot put with a mark of 51-11.00 for second-team All-America Honors. Praught also competed, making her debut at the national level. In a sprint finish, Praught edged out Oregon’s Jordan Hasay in the final 25 meters of the women’s mile for second place, missing first by just nine-one hundredths of a second, earning her first All-American honors. Her national runner-up finish was the best on the track for an ISU runner since Christian Goy won the men’s indoor mile in 2002. Rounding out the trio was Akil Mills, also making his debut on the national stage. Mills took 12th in the men’s weight throw with a mark of 65-11.75, earning second-team All-America honors.

The outdoor season brings new Redbird faces to both the men’s and women’s teams. The biggest difference can be seen in the javelin throw, which is only competed in during the outdoor season. Three-time MVC champion and All-American Leigh Petranoff and the 2011 NCAA National Champion and two-time MVC champion Tim Glover will look to defend their titles during the 2012 season. The duo holds all the top-marks in the Illinois State record books.

For live updates during the meet, follow Illinois State track & field on Twitter at @ISU_Track_XC or Redbird Athletics at @ISURedbirds. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.