Four Redbirds Ready for NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships
June 5, 2012
DES MOINES, Iowa - Four members of the Illinois State track & field teams head to Drake Stadium to compete in the 2012 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field Championships, Wednesday, June 6 through Saturday, June 9.
Aisha Praught will kick the meet off for the Redbirds in the 3,000-meter steeplechase semifinals on Wednesday at 7:45 p.m. Praught earned her right to the championships by taking second in her heat at the West Region Preliminary Rounds with a time of 10:26.17. On the season, she holds the No. 2 mark in the NCAA, running a 9:51.30 at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays in early April. This marks her second-straight trip to the NCAA finals, as she was the runner-up in the indoor mile this past March. She holds the school record and Valley record in the steeplechase and every ISU indoor mark in the mile. Her steeplechase time qualifies her to compete in the U.S. Olympic trials at the end of June.
Tim Glover keeps things rolling for Illinois State as he attempts his national title defense in javelin Thursday at 2:30 p.m. The Midwest Region Field Athlete of the Year holds the top mark in the collegiate ranks (266-09/81.30m) and ranks ninth as a performer in NCAA history. En route to his bid at the national champions, Glover won his third-straight MVC title in the event, being named the Most Outstanding Field Athlete in the conference. His season-best mark of 266-09, which he threw at the Sea Ray Relays in April, is the top-mark in MVC and ISU history and clinched him a spot to compete in the Olympic trials at the end of June.
Brittany Smith will be the third Redbird to compete in the championships, as she is the only dual-event athlete for ISU at the meet. The four-time All-American will make her debut at the outdoor championships, Thursday at 3 p.m., as she steps to the hammer cage as the No. 5-ranked female in the nation this season in the event. Her season mark of 222-10 is the best in ISU history and has qualified her for a spot at the U.S. Olympic trials this year. The meet continues for Smith on Friday, as she will throw the shot put at 5 p.m. She enters the meet with the third-best mark in the nation in the event this season (58-09.50), breaking every ISU throwing record except for the discus this year.
Akil Mills is the last ISU student-athlete to make his debut at the NCAA Championships this week, as he will compete in the hammer throw at 2 p.m. on Friday. Mills enters the meet as the No. 11 seed out of the West Region, hitting a personal-best mark of 204-03 to qualify him for the championships. The No. 3 all-time hammer thrower in ISU history was a consistent performer for the Redbirds during the course of the season, throwing in the mid-190s all year. After eclipsing the 200-foot mark to get into the championships, Mills enters the meet with a renewed spirit to make his mark on the track & field program at Illinois State.
Fans can follow these four student-athletes on GoRedbirds.com or on Twitter via @ISURedbirds or @ISU_Track_XC. Live Results will also be available and can be linked through GoRedbirds.com on the 2012 NCAA Championships Central page. ESPNU will televise Saturday's action from 11 a.m.-1 p.m. (CT). The entire event will be streamed live through ESPN3.com, with the exception of Wednesday, June 6, which will be streamed at www.NCAA.com. All streams are available for free.
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