Women's Track & Field Ranked No. 14 in NCAA Division I
May 1, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - For the third-straight week, the Illinois State women’s track & field team ranks in the NCAA Division I top-25, dipping two spots to No. 14. The Redbirds are one of two Missouri Valley Conference teams to hold a ranking in the top-25, Southern Illinois being the second at No. 23.
For the third-straight year, national team rankings are compiled by a mathematical formula based on national descending order lists and data taken from previous seasons. The purpose and methodology of the rankings is to create an index that showcases the teams that have the best potential of achieving the top spots in the national team race.
The Redbirds earned this ranking with help from Leigh Petranoff, Aisha Praught, Sade Sealy and Brittany Smith, who all rank in the top-50 nationally in their respective events. Sealy holds the No. 39 spot on the nation’s best list in the 400-meter dash with a time of 53.61, while Petranoff continues to hold down the third spot in the javelin with a season-and career-best mark of 173-03. Smith ranks third in the shot put (58-09.50), sixth in the hammer (214-02) and 10th in the discus (180-11). Praught slipped one spot in the nationally rankings in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, holding down the No. 2 spot with a time of 9:51.30, which she set at the Mt. SAC Relays two weeks ago in dominating fashion.
As it stands, Smith and Praught are the only two women to hit the Olympic trials A standard, which qualifies them to compete for a spot on the United States Olympic team at the end of June. Praught hit the mark in the steeplechase (9:55.00), while Smith achieved it in the shot put (17.90m/58-08.75). Both are also the only ISU women ranked in the top-20 worldwide in these same events (Praught-11th; Smith-17th).
Smith and Petranoff also hit the provisional Olympic trials B standard, which qualifies them to compete for a spot on the Olympic team, if the allotted number of competitors haven’t hit the A standard prior to the Olympic trials at the end of June. Smith hit that mark in the hammer (64.00m/210-00), while Petranoff in the javelin (50.50m/165-08).
These four women, along with a number of other members of both the men’s and women’s team, travel to Bloomington, Ind., this weekend to fine tune their skills at the Billy Hayes Invitational in preparation for the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships the following weekend. Fans can follow live updates online or via Twitter at @ISURedbirds or @ISU_Track_XC.
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