Northern Illinois Signs Nine to Track & Field and Cross Country Programs



Feb. 1, 2012

DeKALB – The Northern Illinois track & field and cross country teams announced the signing of nine athletes Wednesday, bringing the total for the Class of 2012 signees to 10 for the Huskies.
“We are excited about our 2012 signees,” said Huskie director of track & field and cross country Connie Teaberry. “This group will help us continue in the positive direction our program is heading both athletically and academically. We are honored that these young ladies have chosen NIU to continue their endeavors with us.”
Overall, five of the nine new signees hail from Illinois. Additionally, two come to NIU from Wisconsin, while there is one each from Iowa and New Jersey.
In addition to October signee Juliane Totzke, the Huskie recruiting class has six distance athletes who will also be a part of the NIU cross country team this fall. That group includes four 2011 all-state honorees – Ali Olson (Bloomer, Wis./Bloomer HS), Leah Raffety (Machesney Park, Ill./Harlem HS), Hannah Savage (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls HS) and Taylor Vinhal (Dousman, Wis./Kettle-Moraine HS) – and Kansas State transfer Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./St. Charles North), who qualified for the 2010 NCAA Cross Country National Championships and the 2011 NCAA West Preliminary Round in the 1500 meters.
The Huskies will also add two highly-talented sprinters in Alicia Osley (Dayton, N.J./South Brunswick HS) and local product Jaylaan Slaughter (DeKalb, Ill./DeKalb HS). Not only have both set multiple records at their respective schools, but the duo has also qualified multiple times for USA Track & Field state and national meets.
In field events, NIU brings in Illinois products Olivia Herzog (Shelbyville, Ill./Okaw Valley HS) and Ellen Renk (Peru, Ill./LaSalle-Peru HS). The two have placed in the top five at the state high school championships each of the last two seasons and have advanced to the Illinois state meet in their first three high school seasons.
Name                             Event                                                                                                Hometown (Previous School)
Olivia Herzog                    Throws                                                          Shelbyville, Ill. (Okaw Valley HS)
Meghan Heuer                  Distance/Cross Country                       St. Charles, Ill. (Kansas State University)
Ali Olson                          Distance/Cross Country                                         Bloomer, Wis. (Bloomer HS)
Alicia Osley                      Sprints                                                        Dayton, N.J. (South Brunswick HS)
Leah Raffety                     Distance/Cross Country                                  Machesney Park, Ill. (Harlem HS)
Ellen Renk                        Jumps                                                                    Peru, Ill. (LaSalle-Peru HS)
Hannah Savage                Distance/Cross Country                                Cedar Falls, Iowa (Cedar Falls HS)
Jaylaan Slaughter              Sprints                                                                       DeKalb, Ill. (DeKalb HS)
*Juliane Totzke                 Distance/Cross Country             Graefenroda, Germany (Carl Zeiss Gymnasium)
Taylor Vinhal                    Distance/Cross Country                               Dousman, Wis. (Kettle-Moraine HS)
*Enrolled at NIU in January 2012 and competing with team


Hometown: Shelbyville, Ill.
High School: Okaw Valley
Event: Throws
Top Marks
Shot Put: 42-06.00
Discus: 137-11.50
Named the Area Track & Field Athlete of the Year by the Decatur Herald & Review following the 2011 season… Placed second in the shot put and third in the discus at the Illinois Class 1A state track meet, becoming the first athlete in her high school’s history to win medals in two events… Named the Sullivan-Okaw Valley team co-MVP after her junior year… Won the shot put and discus at the 2011 USA Track & Field Illinois Junior Olympics with marks of 41-00.25 and 131-09, respectively… Set a personal best in the discus April 21, 2011, with a distance of 137-11.50 to win the event… Recorded a shot put PR May 13, 2010, with a 42-06.00 mark… Won the shot put at nine meets (including the sectional championship) and the discus at seven different meets during the 2011 season… Placed third in the shot put at the 2010 state track meet and fourth in the shot at the 2009 state meet… Also qualified in the discus during the 2009 and 2010 seasons... Took first place at the USATF Junior Olympic Region 7 Championships following the 2009 and 2010 outdoor seasons, while also winning the discus in 2010… Holds the school and conference records in the discus and the school record in the shot put… Volunteers with Meals on Wheels.

Meghan Heuer
Hometown: St. Charles, Ill.
High School: St. Charles North
Previous School: Kansas State
Event: Distance/Cross Country
Top Times
800 Meters: 2:12.40
1500 Meters: 4:26.12
Mile: 4:48.78
6K Cross Country: 21:24.71
Will join Northern Illinois in Fall 2012 after spending one season at Kansas State… Qualified for the 2010 NCAA National Cross Country Championships, finishing 173rd with a time of 21:56.40… Advanced to the 2011 NCAA Outdoor Track & Field West Preliminary Round in the 1500 meters… Placed sixth in the mile at the 2011 Big 12 Indoor Championships and ninth in the 1500 meters at the 2011 Big 12 Outdoor Championships… Part of Kansas State’s school record-holding 4x800 relay team… Earned all-state honors at the 2009 Illinois Class 3A Cross Country Championships, crossing the finish line with a time of 17:53 to finish in 21st place.

Ali Olson
Hometown: Bloomer, Wis.
High School: Bloomer
Event: Distance/Cross Country
Top Times
800 Meters: 2:17.95
800 Meters (Split): 2:15.00
4K Cross Country: 14:36.80
Named to the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association All-State, all-area and all-conference cross country teams in 2011… Placed eighth at the 2011 Wisconsin Division 2 Cross Country State Championships with a time of 14:50.00… Won the sectional championship in 2011 with a 4K time of 14:36.80… Earned three top five finishes at the 2011 Division 2 state meet to earn all-state recognition, including a third place finish as the anchor leg in the 4x800 relay with a time of 2:15.00… Also placed fourth in the 4x400 relay and fifth in the 800 meters in 2011… Holds seven school records at Bloomer and the Heart O’ North Conference record in the 800 meters… Has won the track & field team MVP honor each of her previous three years with the Blackhawks… Earned all-conference and all-area honors with the BHS basketball team… Helped the BHS track & field team win the past two team conference championships… Member of the conference championship and sectional runner-up cross country team in 2011… Won the state reserve championship in barrel racing and competed at the world finals in 2011… Member of the National Honor Society… Older brother plays football at Wisconsin-Eau Claire… Volunteers for BHS’ safety program and as a student mentor, along with Special Olympics.
Hometown: Dayton, N.J.
High School: South Brunswick
Event: Sprints
Top Times
100 Meters: 12.3
200 Meters: 25.2
400 Meters: 56.91
Earned first team all-conference and all-area honors each of her first three seasons at South Brunswick High School… Garnered third team all-state recognition after her sophomore and junior seasons… Member of the school’s sprint medley relay team that earned all-American honors… Ranked 14th in the state of New Jersey in the 400 meters as a junior, while holding the fourth-best time among juniors… Qualified for the AAU and USATF national meets in the 100 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters, 4x100 relay and 4x400 relay… Placed third in the 400 meters at the 2011 NJSIAA Indoor Meet of Champions with a season-best time of 58.45… Took first place in the 400 meters at the 2011 indoor sectional championships and second in the 400 meters at the 2011 outdoor sectional championships… Finished sixth at the NJSIAA Outdoor Meet of Champions in the 400 meters with a time of 57.01, becoming one of only three athletes in her conference to place at the event… Invited to the 2011 New Balance Outdoor Nationals in Greensboro, N.C., placing 11th in the 400 meters with a time of 57.71… Helped the Vikings win the Greater Middlesex Conference indoor championship in each of her four seasons and the outdoor championship each of the past three years… Holds the SBHS freshman class record in the 400 meters and sophomore class record in the 200 meters and 400 meters… Part of four school relay records… Recipient of the NIU Centennial Scholarship.

Leah Raffety
Hometown: Machesney Park, Ill.
High School: Harlem
Event: Distance/Cross Country
Top Times
3200 Meters: 11:13.00
4x800 Relay: 9:48.00
3-Mile Cross Country: 17:13.00
Named to the Illinois all-state cross country team following her senior season… Took 14th-place at the Class 3A state cross country meet with a career-best time of 17:13.00… Took 26th place at the 2010 Illinois Class 3A State Cross Country Championship, just missing out on all-state honors… Won the Northern Illinois Conference 10 individual championship during the 2010 and 2011 seasons… Also qualified for the state cross country meet as a sophomore… Earned first team all-conference recognition each of her four years with the Huskies… Awarded the cross country team’s MVP honor each of her four years at Harlem… Holds three school records (3-mile cross country, 3200 meters, 4x800 relay)… Ranked as the sixth-best senior in Illinois among all classes… Earned Illinois State Scholar recognition and boasts a 4.0 GPA.
Hometown: Peru, Ill.
High School: LaSalle-Peru
Event: Jumps
Top Marks
Long Jump: 18-01.50
Triple Jump: 37-10.25
Earned all-state, all-area and all-conference honors each of her first three seasons at LaSalle-Peru High School… Took third place in both the long jump and triple jump at the 2011 Illinois Class 2A state championships with personal bests of 18-01.50 and 37-10.25, respectively… Won the long and triple jumps at the 2011 Peoria Journal-Star Honor Roll Meet for LaSalle-Peru, which honors the top athletes in central Illinois… Won the Northern Illinois Big 12 Conference indoor title in the triple jump and long jump… Won 10 event titles (six triple jump, four long jump) during her junior season with the Lady Cavaliers… Failed to finish lower than third in the triple jump at each of LaSalle-Peru’s 14 meets in the 2011 season… Scored 20 of LPHS’s 28 team points at the conference’s 2011 indoor meet and 16 of their 26 points at the 2011 outdoor conference meet… Placed third in the triple jump and sixth in the long jump at the 2010 state championship meet… Qualified for the state track & field meet as a freshman in 2009… Holds school records in the long jump, triple jump and pole vault… Will serve as the team captain for the third-straight season in 2012… Also a member of LPHS’ soccer and basketball teams… Earned second team all-conference honors on the hardwood after the 2010-11 season and holds the school record for most steals in a game… Named an Illinois State Scholar… Mother played basketball at Nebraska-Kearney and is a member of the school’s hall of fame… Older brother is a safety on the Minnesota-Duluth football team… Active volunteer through her church’s youth group and Fellowship of Christian Athletes.

Hannah Savage
Hometown: Cedar Falls, Iowa
High School: Cedar Falls
Event: Distance/Cross Country
Top Times
800 Meters: 2:18.00
800 Meters (Split): 2:14.00
1500 Meters: 4:45.00
4K Cross Country: 15:10.87
Has placed in four different events for Cedar Falls High School at the Iowa Class 4 state track & field meet the past two seasons… Served as the 800-meter leg of CFHS’ state champion sprint medley relay team in 2011… Took fourth place at state in 2011 in the 4x800 relay, sixth in the 1500 meters and 11th in the 800 meters… Placed seventh in the 1500 meters at the 2011 Drake Relays, clocking in at 4:46.88… Earned a third place finish at the 2010 Iowa Class 4 state meet as part of the distance medley relay… Finished sixth as part of the 4x800 relay, ninth in the 1500 meters, and 12th in the 800 meters at the 2010 state championships… Holds school records in the distance medley relay and the 4x800 relay… Two-time team captain for the Tigers… Active volunteer in the Cedar Falls community.
Hometown: DeKalb, Ill.
High School: DeKalb
Event: Sprints
Top Times
100 Hurdles: 15.28
400 Meters: 58.33
Earned second-team all-Area honors from the DeKalb Daily Chronicle following her junior year at DeKalb High School… Finished third in the 100 meters and 300 meter hurdles at the Northern Illinois Big 12 Outdoor Conference Meet in 2011… Took second place in the 55 hurdles at the 2011 indoor conference championships… Also responsible for scoring 22 of DeKalb’s 27 points at the 2011 indoor conference meet with top five finishes in three other events (55 meters, 200 meters, 400 meters… Placed second in the 55 hurdles and third in the 400 meters at the 2012 USATF Saturday Special in Hillside, Ill… 2010 state finalist in the 4x200 relay… Qualified for the 2010 state indoor championships in the triple jump and 55 hurdles… Holds five different school records, including the top junior class marks in the 55 hurdles, 55 meters and 300 meter hurdles… Finalist in the 4x400 relay at the 2010 and 2011 USATF Jr. Olympics… Recipient of the NIU DeKalb County Scholarship and the Huskie Legacy Award… An active volunteer in the DeKalb/Sycamore area.

Taylor Vinhal
Hometown: Dousman, Wis.
High School: Kettle-Moraine
Event: Distance/Cross Country
Top Times
4K Cross Country: 14:53.17
Earned cross country second team all-state honors from the Wisconsin Cross Country Coaches Association following her senior year at Kettle-Moraine High School… Garnered all-area, first team-all conference and team MVP honors after the 2011 season… Finished 17th at the 2011 Division 1 state championships with a 4K time of 14:56.00… Placed third at her sectional that season with a personal best time of 14:53.17… Earned a 16th place finish at the 2011 Wisconsin State Outdoor Championships in the 800 meters, crossing the finish line in a time of 2:21.69… Named the Kettle-Moraine track & field MVP following the 2011 season… Won the 800 meters and the 3000 meters at the 2011 USATF Wisconsin Track & Field Championships… Ran the anchor leg of the Lasers’ 2010 and 2011 indoor conference champion 4x800 relay team… Invited to the Foot Locker Midwest Regional Cross Country Championship following the 2010 and 2011 seasons… Improved her cross country personal best by 63 seconds during her senior season… Member of the National Honor Society… Father played football collegiately at Northern Colorado… Active volunteer at local humane society and church mission trips.



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