Redbird Women Rank 15th in NCAA Division I Track & Field
May 8, 2012
NEW ORLEANS - As the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships approach this weekend, the Illinois State women's track & field team continues to hold a national ranking for the fourth-straight week, slipping one spot to No. 15. The Redbirds are one of two MVC teams to hold a ranking in the top-25, the other being Southern Illinois at No. 22.
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.
Leigh Petranoff, Aisha Praught, Sade Sealy and Brittany Smith all rank in the top-50 nationally in their respective events. Combined, they helped the Redbirds to their fourth-consecutive top-25 appearance in the NCAA track & field power rankings. Petranoff continues her stint in the top-three in women's javelin, holding the third-furthest collegiate throw this season with a mark of 173-03. Teammate and fellow thrower Smith ranks third in the shot put (17.92m/58-09.50), sixth in the hammer throw (65.28m/214-02) and 10th in the discus (55.15m/180-11). Sealy moved up eight spots in the 400-meter dash after running to a new career-best and school-record time of 53.32 at the Billy Hayes Invitational last Friday, ranking her first in the Valley. As for Praught, she continues to hold on to the No. 2 spot in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with her time of 9:51.30, set a few weeks ago in dominating fashion at the Mt. SAC Relays.
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).
Both the men's and women's track & field teams travel to Wichita, Kan., this week for the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Championship at Cessna Stadium, May 11-13. Fans can follow the Redbirds online at the championships central page on GoRedbirds.com, which includes links for live results and the live video webstream, and also on Twitter at @ISURedbirds and @ISU_Track_XC.
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