Jensen Punches Ticket to NCAA Championships
Julia Ott breaks the ISU record.
Julia Ott breaks the ISU record.

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May 29, 2014

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark.—Curt Jensen was the first Redbird to punch their ticket to the 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, as he finished fourth in the men’s shot put with a best mark of 19.51 meters (64-00.25).

Despite the rain, Jensen consistently threw beyond 60-feet in his six attempts to advance him to Eugene, Oregon, June 11-14, for the NCAA Championships. Ryan Crouser of Texas, who currently sits on top of the NCAA leaderboard, won the event with a best mark of 20.40 meters (66-11.25).

“First of all, congrats to Jensen, advancing to the NCAA Championships,” interim head track and field coach Jeff Bovee said. “He had a solid performance. Curt has had a phenomenal season, and the NCAA meet in Eugene (Oregon) is one of the best meets in the world. He is going to represent the Redbirds well there, and we are all excited for Curt.”

Julia Ott broke her own Illinois State record in the pole vault, as the sophomore finished her first regional meet with a best mark of 4.04 meters (13-03.00). Ott broke her former career-best of 4.00 meters (13-01.50) to place 19th overall. The sophomore vaulter cleared the bar on her third attempt, but failed to make it past 4.14 meters (13-07.00). Also making his first appearance at a regional meet was freshman Cirron Clark. Clark failed to clear the opening height in the men’s pole vault.

Jianna Williams finished in 24th-place in the women’s shot put, as she tossed a best mark of 15.00 meters (49-02.50). Williams is the only Redbird to compete in multiple events, as she will vie for a spot to Oregon, in the women’s hammer throw Saturday.

Ryan Rutherford clocked a 10K time of 29:47.23 to finish 18th overall. He ran with the best in the west, as the junior distance runner could not hold onto a top-12 spot, finishing 10 seconds behind a top-10 finish.

“Ryan missed out by just a little bit,” Bovee said. “It is a very deep region. We have the top-10 guys in the country in the West region. So, he ran up against a great crowd, and he gave it a good effort. He has just had a breakout season, and he will be a big contender for us as a senior. I know he has learned a lot this year and especially at the NCAA Regionals.”

Shandel Ellis finished her 400-meter career with a time of 56.06.

The Redbirds are back in action tomorrow, as Akil Mills kicks off things for ISU in the men’s hammer throw. Competition is slated for a 10 a.m., start time. Kristen Zillmer and Kelly McShea will be on the track for Illinois State, racing in the 3,000-meter steeplechase at 9:30 p.m.

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