April 19, 2014
CHICAGO - The Northern Illinois University track & field team produced some big results Saturday at the Blue Demon Invitational, winning nine events, securing two Mid-American Conference automatic bids and breaking a school record.
Freshman Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) added her name to the NIU records books in the high jump, while Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC) and Day both secured spots for the conference meet. As a team, the Huskies finished with 202.5 points to claim second place at the meet.
"The ladies that competed today at DePaul really showed their competitive nature," said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. "It was so refreshing to not have to push to get the athletes motivated to compete. Almost every individual competing had either season bests, PRs or took first in their event. They left it all on the track and the staff looks forward to doing it again next week at Penn and Hillsdale."
Day reached a height of 5-10.00 (1.78m) in her record-setting leap, topping the previous school record of 5-08.75 (1.75m) set in 2007 by Jessica Statler. In addition to topping the NIU standard, the freshman punched her ticket to Athens, Ohio, in May and set a new personal record. Day also won the 100 hurdles at a time of 14.84 and finished second in the long jump at 17-09.75 (5.43m).
Bigby posted an impressive run of 56.05 in the 400 meters en route to taking top honors and putting her in yet another event for the conference meet. Julianne Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett), Tahtyana Peer (Milwaukee, Wis./King) and Alexandria Isom (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall) also set personal records in the same race, along with placing third, fourth and sixth, respectively.
A'Iesha Irvin-Muhammad (East St. Louis, Ill./St. Elizabeth Academy) doubled up on wins by taking the 100 and 200 meters. The freshman topped the 100 meters field with a run of 12.08, then took top honors in the 200 with a season-best run of 24.66. Peer's run of 24.83 and Isom's 25.27 clip helped the Huskies sweep the top three spots in the event.
In the 800 meters, Rebecca Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) finished in first with a time of 2:12.66, topping DePaul's Alex Muller by nearly two seconds. Meanwhile, the Huskies swept the relay events. Isom, Irvin-Muhammad, Peer and Bigby teamed up to run 46.29 in the 4x100, while Bigby, Rebecca Cronin, Peer and Julianne Cronin took the top spot in the 4x400 relay at 3:50.95.
The Huskies' final event title of the day came in the shot put, where Tyra Bickham (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs) tossed 44-04.25 (13.52m) to take first. The freshman also claimed second in the discus with a throw of 149-02 (45.48m).
NIU Caps Southern California Run at Long Beach
NORWALK, Calif. - While the rest of the team was in Chicago, NIU's top four middle distance runners finished their stay in California at the Beach Invitational.
Ali Olson (New Auburn, Wis./Bloomer) bested her position in the MAC performance list with a personal record run in the 3000 steeplechase, clocking in at 10:42.07.
Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./North) led NIU in the 800 meters with a 2:12.58 clip to place 32nd in the field of 140. Jamie Burr (Onalaska, Wis./Onalaska) bested her season-best time with a 2:14.84 run to finish 60th, while Hannah Savage (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls) took 84th at a PR time of 2:16.92.
The Huskies wrap up the month of April next weekend, as they split for Philadelphia, Pa., and Hillsdale, Mich., for a pair of big meets. On the East Coast, NIU will have athletes at the historic Penn Relays and the Lions Invitational. Meanwhile, the other half of the team will compete at the Gina Relays.