Redbirds Set to Compete in the Drake Relays
April 26, 2012
Illinois State @ the drake relays
NORMAL, Ill. - The Illinois State men's and No. 12-ranked women's track & field teams head to Des Moines, Iowa, for the 103rd running of the prestigious Drake Relays. The meet starts Thursday for the Redbirds with the 800-meter run at 4 p.m., and concludes Saturday, with the 4X400-meter relays at 5:55 p.m.
The women's team enters the meet with their highest NCAA Division I ranking in program history and has produced two Olympic trials qualifiers. Spearheading the women's pursuit will be Brittany Smith, Aisha Praught and Leigh Petranoff.
Smith enters the meet with a top-10 ranking in all three of her disciplines and a No. 1 ranking in the shot put in the Missouri Valley Conference. She holds every Illinois State throwing record and multiple All-American certificates. Her competition this weekend will prove tough, as the meet will house the top-10 best throwers from across the nation in Division I. She begins to duke it out with the best Friday, as she takes to the shot put ring at 11:30 a.m.
Coming off a record-breaking performance in the 3,000-meter steeplechase last weekend, Praught enters the meet looking to set the stage for her outdoor conquest, this time in the 1,500-meter run. Already ranked No. 1 in the nation and in the Valley in the steeple, Praught hopes to continue her high level of performance and post a time similar to what she did in the steeplechase a week ago. She will hit the ground running Saturday at 5 p.m.
All-American and Cranston, R.I. native, Petranoff, heads into the meet as the No. 3 ranked javelin thrower in the nation. She holds the top spot in the Valley and looks to improve upon her school record and personal-best mark of 173-03 set two weeks ago at Illinois State's lone home meet of the season. The field of throwers she will face consists of the two women ranked ahead of her on the NCAA best-list, and will prove to be a battle for not only the top spot at the meet, but the nationas well. She will throw the javelin Friday at 2 p.m.
Smoody will get the meet started for Illinois State, as he takes to the starting line at 4 p.m. for the 800-meter run Thursday. He is the newest member of the sub-1:50.00 club, running a 1:49.95 last week at the Vanderbilt Invitational in Knoxville, Tenn. The defending MVC champion in the same event, Smoody hopes to improve upon that time, setting the stage for a regional bout.
The defending NCAA Division I National Champion and two-time MVC champion in the javelin, Glover is set to make a run at defending his title from a year ago. Already eclipsing every javelin record in the MVC and Redbird history books, he looks to move his name up the all-time performances list in NCAA Division I, where he currently stands at No. 9. His mark of 266-09 (81.31m) set two weeks ago at the Sea Ray Relays, where he won the Tony Wilson Award for Most Outstanding Male Field Athlete, stands atop the NCAA best-list by 10 feet, three inches and was just 70 centimeters off the Olympic A standard that would allow him to compete for the United States in the 2012 London Olympic Games if he were to place at the trials in June. He will continue his title defense Friday, at 10:45 a.m.
Jensen enters the meet ranked second in the Valley in the shot put and among the top-10 in the other two of his disciplines. He is coming off of four-consecutive first-place finishes in the event and holds a career-mark of 59-09.00, tying the Illinois State record in the process. He will face off against some of the nation's best in the shot put completion, Friday, at 2:30 p.m.
Fans can follow live updates of the meet online via live results or through Twitter at @ISURedbirds and @ISU_Track_XC. Results and recap of each day of the meet will be posted after each day's events have concluded, with a full recap and results packet posted once the meet has concluded. A live video stream will also be available for those willing to pay per view through Drake's All-Access package online.
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