Mills, Praught Advance to NCAA Championships on Day Two of Prelims
Aisha Praught
Aisha Praught

May 25, 2012

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AUSTIN, Texas - Akil Mills and Aisha Praught punched their tickets to the 2012 NCAA Division I Outdoor Track & Field Championships in Des Moines, Iowa, today, as the Illinois State men's and No. 17-ranked women's track & field teams closed day two of the NCAA West Preliminary Rounds.

On his first throw of the men's hammer preliminary round, Mills crushed his career best, throwing 204-03, placing him tenth heading into the hammer finals. He failed to better that mark in the finals, however, it was good enough to solidify a spot at the NCAA National Championships in June. As for Praught, she ran a 10:26.17 in the 3,000-meter steeplechase, her first race in over a month, taking second in her heat to qualify for the national championships.

Brittany Smith and Tori Ziegler kicked off the day for the Redbirds as they both competed in the discus throw. Ziegler finished the meet with a mark of 148-02, capping off her career at Illinois State. Smith failed to land the discus in the sector on all three of her attempts, as both her and Ziegler were faced with tough wind conditions on the infield of Mike A. Myers Stadium. As a result, Smith fouled out and did not make it to the finals.

Curt Jensen also competed in the field for the Redbirds, throwing the hammer 189-02. Becky Anderson made her NCAA debut, clearing the opening height of 5-05.25 on her first try of the high jump. She was millimeters of clearing the second height of 5-07.25 on her second attempt, barely skimming the bar. She did not advance. Tyler Knight was the last to compete in the field, as he took on a competitive group in the triple jump. He fouled his first two attempts, before recording a mark of 47-07.25, placing him 40th in the event.

On the track, Kendric Smith posted a time of 14.34 in the 110-meter hurdles, taking seventh in his heat. The rest of the women's distance crew closed out the day's events as three other Redbirds competed in the steeplechase. Outside of Praught, Kristen Zillmer was the top ISU runner finishing with a time of 10:39.10 for 22nd place. Elise Sigg (10:58.27) and Rachael Brewer (11:19.54) were the other two competing in the event.

Two Redbirds will compete tomorrow to close out the meet. Mike Ziegler will make his NCAA debut in the pole vault at 1 p.m., while B. Smith will throw the hammer at 2 p.m.

Fans wishing to follow Ziegler and B. Smith can do so on or on Twitter via @ISURedbirds and @ISU_Track_XC. Live results will also be available and can be linked through on the NCAA Track & Field Championships Live page on the track & field sidebar. A full recap and results of the final day will also be posted on following the day's events. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, TRC gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.