April 24, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men’s and women’s track & field teams split in two this weekend, as a select few head to Des Moines, Iowa, for the 104th-running of the Drake Relays, Wednesday, April 24 - Saturday, April 27. The rest of the team heads north to Lisle, Ill., Friday, April 26, for the Twilight Invitational hosted by Benedictine.
The Redbirds are coming off a solid home performance in front of a packed house at the Redbird Track & Field Complex. In a triangular meet with Eastern Illinois and Northern Iowa, ISU saw 15 first-place finishes on the day, capped off by three event titles for senior thrower Brittany Smith and two for senior sprinter Sade Sealy.
The trek to Drake will be the second of three this season for the Redbirds, as the team traveled there earlier in the season for the Jim Duncan Invitational (April 13), and will head back there for the Valley Championships in two weeks.
LAST TIME AT THE DRAKE RELAYS
- Tim Glover battled strong cross winds of over 30 MPH, en route to finishing second in the javelin with a season’s-worst mark of 229-10 (70.06m).
- In the shot put competition, Smith finished second to eventual national champion Tia Brooks of Oklahoma, throwing 57-05.00 (17.50m). She also posted a second-place finish in the hammer throw to another eventual national champion, Jeneva McCall, breaking the ISU record at the time with a throw of 214-02 (65.28m). She has since increased that school record in the event to 224-06 (68.44m).
- Curt Jensen shattered the ISU record in the shot put, throwing 60-10.50 (18.55m), finishing fourth in the event. He has since increased his school record to 61-05.75 (18.71m), at the 2012 MVC Outdoor Track & Field Championships.
- Professional thrower Leigh Petranoff finished second to national champion Brittany Borman of Oklahoma in the javelin, as she threw 165-10 (50.54m) during her senior showing at the relays.
- Kristen Zillmer, Sealy, Jil Kerkman and Aisha Praught won the distance medley relay, after Praught ran down Nebraska’s Ashley MIller on the final leg of the race, out-kicking her to the finish with a 4:39.00 mile split. The time of 11:19.14 was not only good enough for first place on the day, but also set the ISU outdoor record in the event.
ALMOST A CLEAN SWEEP
The Missouri Valley Conference named three Illinois State track & field athletes of the week, for their performances in front of a hometown crowd at the Redbird Track & Field Complex this past weekend. Glover and Smith garnered their second Male and Female Field Athlete of the Week honors, while Sealy earned her first Female Track Athlete of the Week accolade. The Redbirds have now racked up five athlete of the weeks honors this outdoor season, and a combined eight between the indoor and outdoor seasons.
Two of the four members of the distance medley relay team that won the Drake Relays title a year ago return to Drake Stadium in an attempt to defend their title. Sealy and Zillmer return to run the 400- and 1,600-meter legs of the relay, respectively, while Kelly McShea and Kaley Ummel will join in pursuit of their first title, running the 1,200- and 800-meter legs. The team a year ago posted a time of 11:19.14, winning the title against 15 quality teams, including Nebraska, Iowa State and Minnesota. The squad set a new school record in the process.
Senior thrower Smith has won seven-straight events she has partaken in, including three this past weekend at the Redbird Spring Invite (April 20) at the Redbird Track & Field Complex. In the process, Smith moved herself up the national charts in the shot put, throwing a season-best mark of 56-03.25 (17.15m), ranking her at No. 5. During her time as a Redbird, Smith has competed in two Drake Relays totaling five events, with her highest finish coming last year as she placed second in both the shot put and hammer.
THE GLOVE’S ARE OFF
Two-time defending NCAA National Champion in the javelin Glover has a little chip on his shoulder, after finishing second at the Drake Relays two years in a row, with his latest coming last year, finishing second to Stipe Zunic of Florida. Faced with strong cross winds, the Normal, Ill., native could only muster a throw of 229-10 (70.06m) in his defeat. With good conditions, the Drake Relays record (268-01 / 81.72m) could come into effect, as Glover holds a personal-best mark of 268-00 (81.69m), which he threw at the NCAA Championships last year at Drake.
Sprint specialist Printassia Johnson found herself in an unconvential event Saturday at the Redbird Spring Invite (April 20), as she ran down the runway of the long jump pit. In her debut in the event, Johnson leaped to a Redbird season-leading mark of 18-06.00 (5.64m), winning the event by seven inches.
HOW FAR CAN YOU GO?
Twenty-two feet, eight inches is freshman Demetri Almissis’ response to that question, as he leaped that far in the long jump at the Redbird Spring Invite (April 20) to win the event and set a new personal-best by over two feet. Almissis now holds the top mark for ISU in the event, and ranks No. 8 in the Valley.
MOVIN’ ON UP
For the third-consecutive week, Sealy found herself climbing up the national charts, as she posted the 24th-fastest time in the 400-meter dash in the NCAA West Region, legging out a time of 53.59 at the Redbird Spring Invite (April 20) Saturday afternoon. After winning the 400-meter dash, the senior doubled-back to win the 200-meter dash, posting a time of 24.75. She ranks first in the Valley in the 400-meter dash by .67 seconds. A native of Barbados, Sealy has won seven-consecutive Valley titles in the 400-meter dash, and looks to become the first Redbird in school history and second in MVC history to win eight-straight titles in the event, as Cheasa Gibson of Missouri State is the only person to have won eight-straight in conference history (2001-04). Sealy concluded her 2013 indoor campaign ranked 27th in the nation in the event, after posting a time of 54.14 at the Valley Championships.
THREE UNDER FOUR MINUTES
Tyler Morse, Aidan Askin and Ryan Rutherford all ran career-bests in the 1,500-meter run, breaking the four-minute barrier in the process at the Redbird Spring Invite (April 20). Morse paced the pack of Redbird runners, turning in a season-leading time of 3:54.95, while Askin was right on his heels with a time of 3:56.98. Rutherford was the last to cross the finishline, running a time of 3:58.15.
Those wishing to follow the live action can do so on GoRedbirds.com or on Twitter via @ISU_Track_XC.
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