Redbirds Split Meets for Weekend Competition
April 3, 2014
NORMAL, Ill.—Members of the Illinois State men’s and women’s track and field teams travel to Charleston, Ill., for the Big Blue Invite, while six distance runners head to Palo Alto, Calif., for the Stanford Invitational.
The heptathlon and decathlon events at the Big Blue Invitational begin competition Thursday and continue through Friday. The women’s hammer throw is slated for a 2 p.m., Friday start time with running events to follow.
Ryan Rutherford and Rachael Brewer will represent the Redbirds in the 10,000-meter race at the Stanford Invitational, beginning at 10:00 p.m. (PST), while Kristen Zillmer races in both the 1,500-meter run and the steeplechase.
“The weekends are becoming more challenging as the weather continues to be rough,” head coach Elvis Forde said. “This week the windy conditions really did affect what we did on the track from a sprinters standpoint. Besides that, we have to go down to Eastern Illinois and hope that the weather cooperates and stays in the mid-50’s and the wind stays down low. We are going to bank on good weather. I think they are getting more ready each week. I think even though it was a tough last weekend, we still had some good performances. As this is the second competition of the weekend, we are really excited how we will compete.”
Jianna Williams will be the go-to women’s thrower, as she notched three top-five finishes at the Bill Cornell Spring Invite, despite the chilling temperatures. Curt Jensen and Akil Mills will look to continue their successful 2013-14 slates, as they kick off the weekend in the hammer throw. Mills captured a second-place finish at the Bill Cornell Spring Invite with a toss of 60.39m (198-01), while Jensen threw for a personal-best mark at 58.97m (193-06).
In the short sprints, ISU will look Fabian Norgrove and Anderson Devonish. Norgrove earned three top-five finishes last weekend, including a first-place finish in the men’s 4x400-meter relay, accompanied by Devonish, Antonio Farley and Coty Kramer.
Shandel Ellis will rest this weekend, as the Redbirds will lean on freshman Ally Christiani in the short sprints. Christiani clocked a 400-meter time of 58.55 at the Bill Cornell Spring Invite to finish third behind Ellis.
Javar Cruz will be the go-to Redbird in the 400-meter hurdles this weekend, coming off a strong weekend in Carbondale. Cruz finished with a time of 54.89.
“I think Javar Cruz opened up really well last weekend,” Forde said. “The weather impacts those events so much because it is so rhythmic, and it is something you cannot change if the wind is blowing hard. He opened the season really well, and I would love to see him below 53 seconds this weekend, if the conditions are conducive.”
CJ Hamilton looks to continue his successful season in the 800-meters after running to a time of 1:56.71 in Carbondale, Ill., despite cold winds and icy temperatures. Jackie Mink will also toe the line in the 800-meter race after notching a fourth-place finish last weekend.
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