Praught Begins Professional Career on High Note

July 26, 2012

NORMAL, Ill. - Under the banner of the United States and Total Sports U.S., recent Illinois State graduate Aisha Praught hit the ground running, as she began her professional running career in July, racing in the Flanders Cup across Europe.

Praught began her career shortly after ending a senior campaign that included a NCAA Division I Runner-up performance in the mile (4:39.85), as well as a 9:51.30 performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at the prestigious Mt. SAC Relays where she finished as the top collegiate. The All-American ended her career at Illinois State at the 2012 U.S. Olympic Track & Field Team Trials, finishing 16th in the steeplechase with a time of 9:55.78.

As one door closed, another one opened, as she inked her allegiance with agent Chris Layne of Total Sports U.S., immediately following the trials. Under the same representation as Nick Symmonds (four-time U.S. Champion in the 800-meter run) and Carmelita Jeter (2nd fastest woman ever in 100-meter dash), Praught headed to Europe to compete in the Flanders Cup, before heading to Dublin, Ireland, to run the Morton Mile at the 2012 Morton Pre Games.

The Flanders Cup began Saturday, July 14, in Kortrijk, Belgium, with Praught running a 4:18.95 in the 1,500-meter run. The meet continued after a short jog over to Gent, Belgium, on July 18. Here, Praught ran the third-fastest time of her life in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, winning the event with a time of 9:56.18, the first of her professional career. The meet concluded in Ninove, Belgium, with Praught finishing seventh in the 1,500-meter run with a personal-best, Illinois State and Missouri Valley record time of 4:16.06.

Praught's European circuit came to a close for the summer in Dublin, Ireland, as she competed in the 2012 Morton Pre Games, running in the Morton Mile. Known for her miler skills, Praught turned in a lifetime-best performance of 4:35.96, finishing 8th. Her professional career will continue after the 2012 Summer Olympic Games in London, as she will move to Eugene, Ore., to run for Mark Rowland and the Oregon Track Club. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.