Redbirds Battle Tough Conditions in Season-Opener
Kristen Zillmer
Kristen Zillmer

March 29, 2014


CARBONDALE, Ill.--The Illinois State men's and women's track and field teams battled cold winds Saturday at the Bill Cornell Spring Invite, marking its first event of the 2014 outdoor campaign.

The men's squad finished fourth overall with a total of 94 points, while the women's crew captured a third-place finish with 99 points.

In Friday's competition Curt Jensen opened up with a throw of 50.93m (167-01) in the discus to place third. Jensen followed that mark up with a personal-best toss Saturday in the hammer throw with a heave of 58.97m (193-06), finishing fourth overall. Akil Mills also notched two second-place finishes, including a personal-best mark in the shot put. Mills tossed 16.45m (53-1.75) in the shot put and followed that up with a throw of 60.93 (198-01) in the hammer.

Jianna Williams also captured a top-five finish in the shot put with a toss of 14.32m (46-11.75) to place third overall. Williams finished fourth in the hammer throw with a heave of 53.48m (175-05).

"Track and field was at its toughest in regards to the weather being windy and cold," head coach Elvis Forde said. "It is pretty much what spring has been so far this year, which has given us little time to prepare and has been a challenge. However, I believe our kids responded well in both the field events and on the track. Akil Mills had a great day, throwing a personal-best in the shot put.  Despite the weather, all of the throwers performed to what they are capable of doing. None of these guys have had a lot of time to practice because of the long indoor season and weather. I definitely give a passing grade to this group. Curt hit a personal-best in the hammer, and Akil had a good performance in that event too. Jianna was not too far from a personal-best. All of them competed very well in those events. I think our men and women on the teams really looked at today from a bravery standpoint, they braved the elements and had a solid opener. "



Kristen Zillmer clocked a time of 4:38.68 in the women's 1,500-meter run to finish first overall. Right behind Zillmer was Haley Goers who finished with a time of 4:39.83 Kelly McShea and Ashley Kamin finished fifth and sixth in the event, respectively, and Kimi Sanden also picked up points for the Redbirds placing eighth with a personal-best time of 4:48.07.

In the men's 1,500-meter race, Aidan Askin notched a third-place finish for the Redbirds with a time of 3:58.75, while Dave Eckhart finished right behind him in fourth with a time of 3:59.28.

Shandel Ellis continued her successful streak in the 400-meter dash, placing second overall with a time of 58.14, while Ally Christiani finished third with a time of 58.55.

Fabian Norgrove led the Redbirds in the 400-meter dash with a time of 48.65 to place second overall, and Anderson Devonish finished fourth in the event with a time of 49.12. Norgrove and Devonish also raced in the men's 4x400-meter relay alongside Coty Kramer and Antonio Farley, finishing first overall with a time of 3:19.21. Devonish narrowly beat out Indiana State's Max Tuttle in the final 100-meters of the race to give ISU the victory.

"It was evident that we had good efforts today, and time doesn't necessarily show that," Forde said. Fabian, who hasn't competed in a long time, had a successful day in the 200 and came out and got second in the 400. I am impressed with our sprinters performance. Again the wind conditions were rough, but Andy, Antonio, Coty and Fabian were impressive. In the men's 200-meter sprint, we had solid performance from all."

Jenna Combs had a strong showing in the women's 400-meter hurdles, finishing first with a time of 1:04.60, beating out second-place Amina Jackson of Eastern Illinois.

The Redbirds return to action April 4-5, as the teams will travel to Charleston, Ill., for the Big Blue Invitational and members of the distance crew travel to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invite. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.