16 Redbirds Ready for NCAA Track & Field Preliminary Rounds

May 23, 2012

2012 NCAA Championship Central

AUSTIN, Texas - Sixteen members of the Illinois State men's and No. 17-ranked women's track & field teams are set to compete in the 2012 NCAA Division I Track & Field Championship Preliminary Rounds at Mike A. Myers Stadium May 24-26, in hopes to advance to the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track and Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa on June 6-9.

Each event will feature a field of 48 competitors, with the top-12 from each the West and East region advancing to the national championships to comprise a field of 24 contenders for the national title.

Among the 16, six Redbirds will be making their debut on the national stage, many who earned their right to compete at the 2012 State Farm Missouri Valley Conference Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Wichita, Kan., two weeks ago. Among these newbies are seniors Kendric Smith, Mike Ziegler, Mat Smoody and Becky Anderson. Smith enters the meet ranked 39th in the 110-meter hurdles with a time of 14.26. Smoody will compete in the 800-meter run where he ranks 43rd with a career-best time of 1:49.78. In the jumps, Anderson ranks 31st in the high jump with a personal-best mark of 5-08.75 and Ziegler holds the last spot in the pole vault with a height of 16-10.75

Other notable Redbirds who are no strangers to competition at the national level are Tim Glover, Leigh Petranoff, Brittany Smith, Aisha Praught, Tyler Knight and Curt Jensen. Glover enters the prelims as the defending national champion in the javelin and holds the top collegiate throw this season at 266-09. The All-American aims for a spot on the United States Olympic team as he prepares his title defense. Petranoff is coming off her fourth-straight MVC title in the javelin and enters the meet ranked fourth in both the region and nation. Her mark of 173-03 is the best throw in ISU and MVC history. B. Smith enters the meet with aspirations to contend for a national title in one or all three of her events. Nationally, she ranks third in the shot put (58-09.50), fifth in the hammer (222-10) and 13th in the discus (180-11). Praught looks to continue her stellar senior campaign, building off her NCAA Division I Runner-up performance in the indoor mile, as she ranks second in the 3,000-meter steeplechase with a time of 9:51.30. Knight makes his second appearance in the triple jump ranked 35 with a mark of 50-02.50. Jensen will compete in both the hammer and shot put. In the shot put, he ranks ninth in the region with a mark of 61-10.75, while holding down the No. 25 spot in the region in the hammer (197-08).



As it stands, Glover, Petranoff, Smith and Praught have all earned a spot at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Trials at the end of June. The four of them, along with the 12 other Redbirds competing this week, hope to improve their marks this season as they try to make it the big stage in Des Moines, Iowa. Fans wishing to follow these 16 individuals can do so on GoRedbirds.com or on Twitter via @ISURedbirds and @ISU_Track_XC. Live results will also be available and can be linked through GoRedbirds.com on the NCAA Track & Field Championships Live page on the track & field sidebar. A full recap and results of each day will also be posted on GoRedbirds.com following the day's events.

Here is a complete list of all Illinois State track  & field athletes, and their events, competing in the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds this weekend:

Becky Anderson High Jump
Rachael Brewer Steeplechase
Tim Glover Javelin
Curt Jensen Throws
Tyler Knight Triple Jump
Akil Mills Hammer
Leigh Petranoff Javelin
Aisha Praught Steeplechase
Sade Sealy 400-meter dash
Elise Sigg Steeplechase
Brittany Smith Throws
Kendric Smith 110-meter hurdles
Mat Smoody 800-meter run
Mike Ziegler Pole Vault
Tori Ziegler Throws
Kristen Zillmer Steeplechase

GoRedbirds.com:  Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.