Redbird Women take Second; Men Third at SIU Spring Classic
Michelle Brunk
Michelle Brunk

March 28, 2009


CARBONDALE, Ill. - The Illinois State women's track and field team captured second place, while the men took third at the Southern Illinois Spring Classic held at Lew Hartzog Stadium in Carbondale, Ill. The Redbird women took home five first-place finishes and tallied 181 points and the men claimed two titles earning 114.5 points Saturday.

Host Southern Illinois won the meet on both the men's and women's side. On the women's side the Saluki's won with 229 points and was followed by Illinois State, Southeastern Missouri in third place (114), Wisconsin-Milwaukee took fourth (92) and Bradley rounded out the field in fifth place and 46 points.

Illinois State head track and field coach Elvis Forde felt that his teams performed well under the weather conditions, but knows that there is still work ahead of his team this early in the season.

"Overall our women's squad showed consistency," said Forde. "We didn't run some people in certain events because of the weather. but I thought that the women handled the elements quite well. On the men's side, we just need to build on what we have. We have a lot of guys out because of injuries and we need to get them back and ready to go."

The Redbird women captured 23 points in the 800-meter run as Michelle Brunk (2:15.64), Kim Smudde (2:19.96) and Jil Kerkman (2:21.93) took first, second and fourth place, respectively.

"We had a great performance from the women's 800 runners," said Forde. "Their times may not seem very fast, but the weather really slowed them. I think we will see some faster time here soon when the conditions are better."

It seemed to be a trend for ISU to finish in pairs because sophomores Jess Husted (17:26) and Olivia Myers (17:26.90) finished first and second in the 5,000-meter run. Then Aisha Praught (11:03.98) and Kirsten Lang (11:06.01) did the same in the 3,000-meter steeplechase.



"It was great to see Jess back in the action after taking the indoor season off," said Forde. "It looks like she is getting her form back and I hope that this race boosts her confidence and she is ready for a strong outdoor season."

In the field events, freshman Tori Ziegler won the shot put with a throw of 45-1.75. Sophomore Amanda Albrecht earned her first win of the outdoor season in the high jump clearing a height of 5-5.

On the men's side Southern Illinois captured first place with 260 points, while Wisconsin-Milwaukee earned the runner-up position with 126 points, the Redbirds took third, Southeastern Missouri place fourth (98) and Illinois took fifth with 75.5 points.

Freshman Mat Smoody earned his first collegiate win in the 800-meter run. Smoody lead the charge of ISU's 800 runners, who earned 27 points for the Redbirds, as he turned in a time of 1:52.18. Freshman Steven Regan was the runner up with a time of 1:52.76, before two runners from Illinois edged out Illinois State's John Neisler (1:54.49), Nick Geyer (1:54.97) and Yosef Tewolde (1:55.07) as the trio took fifth, sixth and seventh, respectively.

"I think that the men's 800 was our most exciting race of the day," said Forde. "We had two guys that run very well in Mat and Steve. Then to see John, Nick and Yosef all run under 1:56 was awesome and that was great for them, especially with the weather conditions we had today."

Sophomore Chris Kirtz earned won the long jump, launching a distance of 22-9.

Illinois State is back in action next weekend (April 3-4) at the Eastern Illinois Big Blue Classic held in Charleston, Ill. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.