Feb. 18, 2009
DeKALB - Looking to build off a win over Bowling Green at its last meet, the Northern Illinois track and field team travels to Muncie, Ind., for the Ball State Quadrangular, Friday at 4:30 p.m.
The meet is the final competition before the Huskies head to Kent State for the Mid-American Conference Championships, Feb. 27-28.
In addition to the host Cardinals, the Huskies will try to out-run, out-throw, and out-jump competition from Miami (OH) and Western Michigan.
In their last competition, the Huskies used first place finishes in the long jump, triple jump, 3,000-meter run and 4x400-meter relay to vault ahead of Bowling Green. Junior Brittany Houghton (Freeport, Ill./Dakota) and senior Shoshanna Brown (Plainfield, Ill./Romeoville) swept the long and triple jumps, respectively. In the 3,000, sophomore Nancy Nieto (Elgin, Ill./Streamwood) led nearly start-to-finish on her way to a team season-best time of 10:22.27. She was one of 14 Huskies to record season bests during Northern Illinois' last competition. The NIU 4x400-meter relay team also ran its fastest time of the year, shaving over a half-second off of its previous 2009 top time.
The Huskies will look to continue those upward trends against tough competition. Western Michigan, Miami, and Ball State finished second, third and fourth behind Akron at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships last season.
Junior Jessica Statler (Cedar Rapids, Iowa/Cedar Rapids Prairie), who recorded her top high jump of the year with a 5-7 leap two weeks ago, will have her toughest competition with Miami's Katelyn Kelly. Last week, Kelly leaped 5-7.25, a mark Statler out-jumped by an inch in 2007 to set the NIU indoor record, but has yet to achieve this year.
In the 4x400, NIU has a good chance at picking off Ball State's group. The Cardinals hold a top time of 3:57.57, but ran a 4:01.63 last time out. The Huskies have shown consistent improvement, including their Feb. 6 season-best time of 4:01.12.
After this weekend's meet and the MAC Championships, some Huskies may compete at the Alex Wilson Invitational, Mar. 7, vying to hit NCAA qualifying marks.