Redbirds Head to Indiana for Final Tune-Up Before Valley Championships
May 4, 2012
Illinois State @ Billy Hayes Invitational
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men’s and No. 14 ranked women’s track & field teams head to Bloomington, Ind., Friday, to compete in the Billy Hayes Invitational, serving as a final tune-up before the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships next weekend.
The Redbirds are coming off a solid showing at the Drake Relays, where the women’s distance medley relay team of Kristen Zillmer, Sade Sealy, Jil Kerkman and Aisha Praught was crowned relays champion, setting a school record of 11:19.14 in the process. Coinciding with their performance, Brittany Smith competed head-to-head against the top-10 best throwers in the nation, taking home two second-place finishes and a seventh, en route to earning her second Valley Field Athlete of the Week honors this outdoor season. In the process, she also managed to break her previous Illinois State record in the hammer that she set the week prior.
Leigh Petranoff held her own against the women’s national leading javelin thrower, Brittany Borman of Oklahoma, finishing second with a throw of 165-10. She ranks third in the NCAA with a personal-best and school record mark of 173-03.
Also at the relays, Curt Jensen set a new career and school mark in the shot put, finishing fourth with a mark of 60-10.50. He leads all other Valley competition in the shot put by more than nine inches. Javelin thrower Tim Glover continued his national title defense, finishing second in harsh weather conditions with a mark of 229-10. Currently, he holds a 10-foot lead in the national rankings (266-09), and was named to the Bowerman Watch List, which is awarded to the best male and female collegiate track & field athlete of that year in . He now ranks among the top-10 performers of all-time in the NCAA, holding on to the No. 9 spot.
As it stands now, three Redbirds have punched their tickets for Eugene, Ore., to compete in the US Olympic trials at the end of June. Praught achieved this feat with her 9:51.30 performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the Mt. SAC Relays, while Smith did in the shot put at the Sea Ray Relays with a mark of 58-09.50. Glover is the lone men’s competitor who has qualified for the trials, as he sets his sights for hitting the London Olympic A standard. His mark of 266-09 (81.31m) is just 70 centimeters off the standard, which would qualify him to represent the United States at the 2012 Summer Olympics in London if he were to make the finals at the trials in June.
Petranoff’s mark of 173-03 in the javelin is also a provisional qualifier for the trials, in which she would compete if the total allotted number of competitors isn’t filled by those who hit the trials A standard. Smith also hit the provisional standard in the hammer throw with her mark of 214-02.
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