Throwers lead Huskie Track and Field to best showing at MAC summit since bringing back sport



February 28, 2004

WOMEN'S COLLEGIATE TRACK AND FIELD---Northern Illinois University at Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships / Bob Parks Track / Ypsilanti, MI / Eastern Michigan University, host / Friday-Saturday / February 27-28, 2004

1. Central Michigan 103
2. Eastern Michigan 92.5
3. Kent State 90.5
4. Ball State 77
5. Western Michigan 57
t-6. Miami (OH) 51
t-6. Akron 51
8. Bowling Green 45
9. Buffalo 41
10. Toledo 28
11. Northern Illinois 13
12. Ohio 9
13. Marshall 5

NIU FINISHERS (non-NIU finishers in italics)
Mile run - 1. Beata Rudzinska (Akron) 4:53.88; 10. Alicja Czajka (NIU) 5:06.90; 14. Michelle Rhoden (NIU) 5:11.12; 25. Emily Ramsey (NIU) 5:36.03
3,000-meter run - 1. Briana Shook (UT) 9:43.77; 17. Michelle Rhoden (NIU) 10:28.44; 19. Alicja Czajka (NIU) 10:30.54; 30. Christina Nieto (NIU) 10:57.74
5,000-meter run - 1. Briana Shook (UT) 16:42.75; 21. Christina Nieto (NIU) 19:20.41; 22. Jessica Schauff (NIU) 19:22.09
4x400-meter relay - 1. Eastern Michigan 3:47.06; 10. Northern Illinois 3:58.52
High Jump - 1. Jackie Bozin (CMU) 1.78m (5'10.00"); 17. Elizabeth Berquist (NIU) 1.60m (5'03.00")
Long Jump - 1. Lela V. Nelson (EMU) 6.00m (19'08.25"); 23. Chanel Brown (NIU) 5.04m (16'06.50")
Triple Jump - 1. Colleen Ramharak (KSU) 12.96m (42'06.25"); 16. Chanel Brown (NIU) 10.87m (35'08.00"); 21. Courtney Brown (NIU) 10.13m (33'03.00")
Shot Put - 1. Sarah Vance (Buffalo) 14.68m (48'02.00"); 2. Ashley Morrow (NIU) 14.53m (47'08.00"); 7. Margaret Gorski (NIU) 13.71m (44'11.75"); 20. Lindsay Chamberlain (NIU) 12.14m (39'10.00")
Weight Throw - 1. Lauren Collins (Miami) 19.21m (63'00.25"); 6. Lindsay Chamberlain (NIU) 16.10m (52'10.00"); 16. Meagan Guenther (NIU) 14.16m (46'05.50"); 21. Ashley Morrow (NIU) 13.27m (43'06.50")
Pentathlon - 1. Jackie Bozin (CMU) 3,787; 17. Amanda Bergman (NIU) 2,644

YPSILANTI, MI--- It's been a long road, but there appears to be a glimmer of light at the end of the tunnel. Heading into this season, the Northern Illinois University women's track and field team had yet to finish anywhere but last at the Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships since resurrecting the program in the winter of 2000-01. Thanks to a great performance by their throwers, the Huskies will wear that label no longer.

NIU racked up 13 team points to finish 11th out of 13 schools at the league summit hosted by Eastern Michigan University at Bob Parks Track over the weekend. Central Michigan University won its second indoor crown in the last three years with 103 points, narrowly edging out the host Eagles (92.5) and preseason favorite Kent State University (90.5) to round out the top three. The Huskies topped Ohio University (9) and Marshall University (5) at the bottom of the standings.

Freshman Ashley Morrow (O'Fallon) led the charge by earning NIU eight team points with a second place finish in the shot put. Morrow's toss of 47 feet, eight inches shattered the school record by more than a foot and bettered her personal best by more than two feet. The second-place finish is the best ever by a Huskie at the MAC Championships.

"Ashley was just magnificent today," NIU head coach Shantel Twiggs said. "She really stepped up for us and performed well. We knew she was capable of a performance like this, but being capable and actually doing it at the MAC Championships are two completely different things. This is a big step for her."

The shot putters weren't done either, as yet another freshman cracked the top eight to earn the Huskies some team tallies. Margaret Gorski (Elmwood Park)---the old school record holder---reached 44 feet, 11.75 inches to garner seventh-place honors and two more overall points.

"Margaret stepped up too, just like Ashley," Twiggs noted. "But, again, we knew that she had this kind of ability in her. Margaret has been solid all season, and she just went out there today and did what she's been doing from day one."

Not to be outdone in the weight throw, "veteran" sophomore Lindsay Chamberlain (Oconee / Pana) took home sixth place with a toss of 52 feet, 10 inches to round out the NIU scoring for the weekend with three more points.

The only other individual Huskie to crack and event top-ten was senior Alicja Czajka (Swarzedz, Poland / Poznan) who placed 10th in the mile run with a time of 5:06.90. Junior Michelle Rhoden (Joliet / West) followed closely behind her with a 5:11.12. That same duo, in reverse, also represented the top two Northern Illinois placewinners at 3,000 meters with Rhoden pacing a 17th-place 10:28.44 and Czajka earning the 19th spot at 10:30.54.

"The future looks extremely bright here," Twiggs added. "We are going to make some major leaps and bounds throughout the outdoor season, and definitely over the next couple of years. There is a good, young nucleus of ladies on this team who are trying to set the bar a little higher each time they go out and compete."

Northern Illinois will look to fine-tune a few things over the next month and carry some momentum to Baton Rouge, LA, when the Huskies begin their outdoor season at the LSU Tiger Relays on Friday, Mar. 26. Action is slated to begin at 9:00 a.m. (EST) and carry throughout both Friday (Mar. 26) and Saturday (Mar. 27) afternoons.

-30- -Copy by Brian Kedzior



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