May 13, 2009
DeKALB - The Northern Illinois track and field team opens competition Thursday at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships in Akron, Ohio, looking to continue what's been a record-breaking season.
"The girls are pretty excited," head coach Connie Teaberry said. "Going into the MAC Championships and putting a cap on the season, we're ready to see what we can do."
Northern Illinois enters the weekend having already broken or tied seven school records in 2009, including the outdoor triple jump, 4x200-meter dash, 3,000-meter run, javelin, and discus.
"There are a lot of possibilities where we can score, but really you just want them to go out there and compete as best they can," Teaberry said.
A trio of Huskies have scores that rank in the top-eight in the MAC this year. A placement that high at the conference meet would garner the Huskies points toward their team score.
Sophomore Nancy Nieto's (Elgin, Ill./Streamwood) 3,000-meter time of 10:16.05 is the sixth-fastest this year. Jennene Anthony (East St. Louis, Ill./East St. Louis) holds the seventh-best javelin mark in the MAC with a 135-1.25, and Shoshanna Brown's (Plainfield, Ill./Romeoville) 38-4.25 triple jump ranks eighth in the conference. All three of those marks are school records, and could easily score points at the meet.
The Huskies carry the momentum from their first home meet in 27 years, when the team hosted the Inaugural Huskie Open at the new NIU Track & Field and Soccer Complex, into the MAC Championships.
"We're looking at the individual girls getting out there and performing the best they can, like they did at home, then going from there as far as team standings," Teaberry said.
Teaberry believes her team's chemistry and closeness is also key to success at the MAC Championships.
"You've got to have support from your teammates to perform, that sister right next to you knowing that you're putting yourself out there for your team," Teaberry said. "There's belief in self, and belief in each other. When you put both of those together you can do great things."
In addition for competing within the MAC, the Huskies will be vying for NCAA Regional Championships qualifying marks this weekend. If any NIU athletes achieve qualifying times, distances, or heights, those individuals will travel to the NCAA Outdoor Regionals in Louisville, Ky., May 29-30.