Jan. 18, 2014
CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - Following a month-plus break away from competition, the Northern Illinois University track & field team got back Saturday in Champaign, Ill., with a third place finish at the Illini Classic.
In total, the Huskies accumulated 73.5 points in the meet, besting Mid-American Conference rival Western Michigan by nearly 20 points. Host Illinois won the meet, while Memphis took second place in the final standings.
"The team had solid performances today at Illinois," said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. "Due to the break, their technique is a little rusty, but they still exhibited strong efforts. We will continue to work on our mindset, form and aggressiveness, which should yield improvements each week."
In sprints, A'Iesha Irvin-Muhammad (East St. Louis, Ill./St. Elizabeth Academy) was the star of the day, notching an event title and a second-place finish inside the UI Armory. The freshman claimed runner-up honors in the 60 meters, running 7.73 in the prelims to advance, then crossed the line at 7.64 in the finals. Not only did she claim silver at the meet, but her finals time also clinched an automatic berth into the MAC Indoor Championships in the event.
Later on, Irvin-Muhammad brought home top honors in the 200 meters by breaking the tape at 25.10. Teammate Tahtyana Peer (Milwaukee, Wis./King) was not far behind, placing second with a time of 25.15. Both of those marks earned Irvin-Muhammad and Peer a place in the conference indoor meet field.
Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West), who officially joined the team earlier this week, made quite the first impression in her collegiate debut with a fifth-place showing in the 60 hurdles. The Belleville, Ill., native ran 8.91 in the prelims to notch the sixth-best time, then moved up one spot in the finals with an 8.83 clip. She showed her versatility by taking third place in the long jump with a mark of 18-03.25 (5.57m).
Sisters Rebecca Cronin and Julianne Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) each scored points for the Huskies in the 600 meters. Rebecca, NIU's new record-holder in the event, took third place with a time of 1:36.78, while Julianne finished eighth at 1:40.37. Earlier on in the 400 meters, though, it was younger sister Julianne who came away with the better mark, running 58.78 to place 10th.
Three Huskies nabbed points in distance events. Juliane Totzke (Graefenroda, Germany/Carl Zeiss Gymnasium) and Leah Raffety (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) finished sixth and seventh, respectively, in the 3000 meters, notching respective times of 10:20.23 and 10:23.40. In the mile, Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./North) was eighth at a time of 5:04.75.
Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC), another spring semester addition, scored in both the high jump and the long jump. The Jamaican reached 5-03.25 (1.61m) in the high jump to tie for fifth, then leapt 17-08.00 (5.38m) in the long jump to claim eighth. Colleen Krawczykowski (Villa Park, Ill./Willowbrook) finished ninth in the triple jump at 31-04.00 (9.55m).
After notching a PR last month in the season opener, junior Sidra Sherrill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) placed fifth in the shot put with a distance of 46-02.75 (14.09m).
The Huskies return to action next weekend, when they head to America's Dairyland for the Wisconsin Elite Invitational. The meet begins Friday, Jan. 24, with the discus, while the rest of the action commences on Saturday, Jan. 25.