Feb. 21, 2014
MUNCIE, Ind. - In their final tune-up prior to next weekend's Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships, the Northern Illinois University track & field team won four event titles and secured one last MAC automatic berth Friday at the Ball State Quadrangular.
In the team scores, the Huskies finished third in the four-team meet, beating out Miami (Ohio). Western Michigan won the meet, while the host Cardinals snuck past NIU for second place by five points.
"We had a solid day of competition," said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. "The ladies accomplished several PRs and Latesha Bigby hit automatic qualifying times in the 60 (meters) and 60 hurdles. The staff was pleased with the ladies' efforts. These performances are what they needed to prepare for MAC next week."
The headliner for the Huskies Friday was junior Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC), who earned two individual titles on the track. She started her day by winning the 60 meters, clocking in at a MAC auto berth-clinching time of 7.65 in the prelims before winning the finals with a 7.74 clip. In the 60 hurdles, Bigby ran a personal best time of 8.65 - re-upping her MAC auto mark she clinched last weekend - in the prelims, followed by a finals time of 8.70. She nearly took home a third individual title in the 200 meters, but was a fraction of a second short at 25.37 en route to a third-place finish.
The Jamaican also had a hand in NIU's first-place 4x400 relay team by running the first leg. Joined by Rebecca Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett), Tahtyana Peer (Milwaukee, Wis./King) and Julianne Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett), the quartet ran 3:49.83 to outdistance WMU's relay.
The Huskies' fourth win came courtesy of Leah Raffety (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem) in the 3000 meters. The redshirt freshman broke the tape with a PR time of 10:21.11, while positioning herself well to claim one of the final spots in that event at the conference meet.
Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) earned a pair of top-three finishes in Muncie. The freshman claimed silver in the 60 hurdles with a finals time of 8.84, then took third in the high jump at 5-05.00 (1.65m).
Tyra Bickham (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs), A'Iesha Irvin-Muhammad (East St. Louis, Ill./St. Elizabeth Academy) and Julianne Cronin also earned runner-up finishes on the day. Irvin Muhammad ran 7.76 in the 60 meters, while Cronin was second in the 400 meters at 57.51 and Bickham tossed 43-05.00 (13.23m) in the shot put.
Sidra Sherrill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) was third in the shot put, reaching 43-01.50 (13.14m). Additionally, Michaela Dwyer (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) was fourth in the long jump at 17-03.50 (5.27m) and high jump at 5-03.00 (1.60m).
NIU opens indoor postseason action next weekend with the MAC Indoor Championships in Kent, Ohio. The meet begins Friday, Feb. 28, and runs through Saturday, March 1.