May 9, 2013
Meet Central | Meet Notes
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men's and women's track & field teams make their third and final voyage of the season to Des Moines, Iowa, for the 2013 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships at Drake Stadium.
The women's team was picked to finish third in the pre-championship poll with 49 points. The squad sits behind Indiana State, who was picked to finish second with 54 points, and Wichita State, who took all eight first-place votes, tallying 64 total points. Rachael Brewer, Sade Sealy, Elise Sigg, Kelly McShea, Kristen Zillmer, Printassia Johnson and Brittany Smith will set the pace for the women, as they all rank among the top three in their respective events on the Valley best list.
The men's team was picked to finish sixth, and will look to two-time defending national champion, Tim Glover to set the standard, as he goes for his fourth-straight Valley title.
LAST YEAR AT THE '12 MVC OUTDOOR CHAMPIONSHIPS
- The women's team placed second at the 2012 Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships, scoring 150 points, behind champions Wichita State, who tallied 192.5.
- Glover claimed his third-straight Valley title in the javelin, and was named the meet's Most Outstanding Male Field Athlete, for having the highest national-ranking at the time of his performance on that day.
- Curt Jensen was named the Most Valuable Male Athlete of the Meet, as he scored more points than anyone else on the men's side with 22, after finishing first in the shot put and third in both the discus and hammer throw.
- Zillmer won her first Valley title in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, pacing the Redbirds to a one, two and four finish.
- Sealy won her third-straight title in the 400-meter dash on the outdoor circuit, and her sixth-straight, including the indoor season. After her crown at the 2013 Indoor Championships, she has now gone a perfect seven-for-seven in the event at the conference level.
- Mat Smoody won the conference crown in the men's 800-meter run, helping the men's squad to a fifth-place finish.
- Combined, the Redbirds had five members punch their tickets to the regional after their performances at the conference meet, joining the 11 other student-athletes who had already done so.
THE FINAL DUEL
Over the past four years, the Valley has had the opportunity to see two of the nation's top throwers face off against one another at the championships. This year will be no different, as Smith will take on Indiana State's Felisha Johnson for the final time at the MVC Championships. Johnson holds a better mark than Smith in the shot put and discus; however, Smith holds the top spot in the hammer throw.
UNDEFEATED IN THE 400
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. 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. Currently, she stands atop the leaderboard with a season-best time of 53.59, .67 seconds faster than No. 2-ranked Althia Maximilien (54.26) of Missouri State.
FIRST FOR FORDE
In his 13th season at the helm of the Redbirds, head track & field coach Elvis Forde is still looking for his first conference championship, as he has led the Illinois State men's and women's squads to two runner-up finishes each. The closest came in 2004 when the men's team finished second to Northern Iowa by nine points, 146-137.
Glover has won three-straight MVC titles in the javelin, en route to his two NCAA championships. He looks to win his fourth straight title in the event, and join a select company who has accomplished that feat. The senior enters the championships ranked No. 1 in the Valley, holding a season-best mark of 253-05 (77.24m), 37 feet, one inch further than second-ranked Jon Rizzo of Wichita State.
It is no secret that Illinois State women have built a steeplechase dynasty under the direction of assistant track & field coach Jeff Bovee. The Redbirds have won the event the past two championships, and enter the 2013 Valley meet ranked one, two and three. Sigg holds the top time of 10:12.64, while Zillmer ranks second with a time of 10:14.68. McShea comes in at No. 3 with a personal-best time of 10:16.95. Outside of those three, the next fastest time in the Valley is 10:50.41, held by Sadie Darnell of Southern Illinois.
RELAYING A MESSAGE
After a convincing first-place performance at the indoor championships this past winter, the women's 4X400-meter relay of Johnson, Shandel Ellis, Zillmer and Sealy, enter the outdoor championships with a bull's-eye on their back. The foursome broke the ISU record in the event twice at the same meet, holding a time of 3:38.64, which is the fastest in the Valley by two seconds.
Last year, the women's distance crew scored a total of 48 points, between the 800-, 1,500-, 5,000- and 10,000-meter runs, and the 3,000-meter steeplechase. At the indoor championships, the crew took the brunt of the scoring, tallying 69 points. If the Redbirds want to put themselves in contention, the distance crew will have to better that mark of last year, as the team enters the weekend ranked third in the pre-championship poll.
SMITH GARNERS ANOTHER ONE
For the third time this outdoor season, the MVC named senior thrower Smith Field Athlete of the Week for her record-breaking performances at the Wisconsin Open this past weekend (May 4).
Smith broke two records at the Wisconsin Open (May 4) Saturday afternoon, en route to recording two first-place finishes in the shot put and hammer throw, and a second-place finish in the discus. The Oak Park, Ill., native threw a season-best mark of 215-05 (65.66m) in the hammer throw, breaking the McClimon Track Complex record and moving herself up the national rankings to No. 8. Smith only had two legal marks in the hammer on the day, fouling four of her six throws. However, that was enough, as she threw 22 feet, five inches further than runner-up Taylor Smith of Wisconsin.
The eight-time All-American also took first in the shot put, throwing a mark of 56-01.75 (17.11m), and again breaking the McClimon Track Complex record in the process. She was just one foot shy of completing the trifecta, finishing second in the discus with a mark of 168-08 (51.40m).
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