Field Events Highlight Day Two of Jesse Owens Classic
Akil Mills
Akil Mills

April 19, 2014


COLUMBUS, OhioJulia Ott broke her second school record in the women’s pole vault, jumping to 4.00-meters (13-01.50) and bypassing Rachelle Harbet who set the record of 3.90-meters (12-09.50) in 2012, while Curt Jensen broke his own along with the MVC record in the shot put, tossing 20.21-meters (66-03.75) Saturday evening at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Classic.

Ott cleared the record-breaking mark on her third attempt, but could not vault over 4.10-meters. This is the second pole vault record Ott has claimed for the 2013-14 track season, as she captured the indoor record at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships with a jump of 4.08-meters (13-04.50).

Jensen also earned a personal-best mark in the shot put, tossing the winning mark on his final attempt. Jensen threw past 66-feet for a second time, after throwing 20.13-meters on his third attempt, for his final throw to break his own record. With that throw, he currently sits in the No. 2 spot on the NCAA leaderboard in the shot put. Jensen tossed a mark of 57.17-meters (187-07) in the hammer throw to finish 16th.

Akil Mills also had a solid day in the throwing events, as he earned a personal-best mark in the hammer throw. Mills continued to improve with each throw and tossed a mark of 63.99-meters (209-11) on his final attempt to finish eighth in the field. The Loganville, Ga., native heaved a mark of 15.37-meters (50-05.25) to finish 27th in a competitive shot put field.

“I keep complimenting Curt every weekend, but he has worked extremely hard,” head track and field coach Elvis Forde said. “He can be selfish and say I just want to concentrate on the shot put, but he wants to excel in all three throwing events. That is not an easy feat. The way he is managing all three is not taking away from his performance at all. He earned a new PR and his hard work shows. It is a plus to have him on our side. Akil Mills is having a good outdoor season as well. He got a PR in a meet that had some of the best throwers in the country, and I hope that gives him a sense of confidence. The two of them are really special to see.”

The pole vaulters likewise had a personal-best day, as Chase Pavelonis notched a career-best mark, vaulting 5.05-meters (16-06.75) on his third attempt at that height to finish fourth in the field and besting his former height of 16-02.75. Cirron Clark cleared a personal-best height of 4.70-meters (16-06.75), and Taylor Knauf posted a personal-best 3.70-meters (12-01.50).

“It was an incredible weekend in regards to the weather,” Forde said. “I know I keep going back to that point, but I think it gets the athletes excited. It was evident from our team. With coach Tornifolio, the pole vault girls are really starting to find themselves. Julia had the best outdoor weekend she has had so far, and we are going to expect a lot more from her at conference. It was good to see her and Taylor have a good weekend. They will soon be top conference performers for us and that was fantastic to see.”

The sprinters also continued their successful season, as Anderson Devonish and Fabian Norgrove led the way for the Redbird men. Devonish finished 15th in the men’s 200-meter sprint with a time of 21.84, while Norgrove clocked a time of 21.92 to place 20th. Norgrove captured a season-best time of 48.33 in the men’s 400-meter dash to finish fifth, and Devonish was right behind him in seventh with a season-best 400-meter time of 48.38. Devonish and Norgrove accompanied by Nathan Schreiber and Deshaun Jordan ran to a time of 41.47 in the men’s 4x100-meter relay for a seventh-place finish, and closing out the track events for the day, was Devonish, Norgove, Antonio Farley and Coty Kramer who ran to a time of 3:13.18 to place fourth in the men’s 4x400-meter relay.

Sarah Mussallem clocked a season-best time of 25.14 in the women’s 200-meter sprint, and she finished first in her heat and sixth overall in the women’s 400-meter race with a personal-best time of 56.67.

Jenna Combs ran to a 400-meter hurdles time of 1:03.11 to place 10th overall, and Javar Cruz clocked a season-best 400-meter hurdle time of 53.71 to finish 12th.

“Sarah Mussallem goes out there and fights every day,” Forde said. “Sarah will get a lot better, and it will be fantastic to see how she runs as the end of the year comes. Jenna, again, is just consistent, and that is all you can ask. Once conference rolls around, we expect her to do really well.”

The Redbirds continue action April 24-26, as they travel to Des Moines, Iowa, for the annual Drake Relays. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.