The Redbirds Stand In Third-Place After Their First Day at MVCs
Wenting Zhang
Wenting Zhang

Feb. 13, 2014


Carbondale, Ill. - The Illinois State swimming and diving team is in third-place after their first day at the Missouri Valley Conference Championships hosted by Southern Illinois University. Marissa Yontz, Lexi Nash and Wenting Zhang are leading the Redbirds into tomorrow's competition with first place finishes and new school records.

Missouri State is leading the championships with a score of 299 followed by Southern Illinois University with 204 points and Illinois State finished the day with 192.

"Starting off tonight with the 200-freestyle relay was very exciting to watch tonight," said Paska. "It ended up being a close race to the finish. It is always important for us to start the meet off with momentum and we definitely did that tonight."

The Redbirds began the championships with a third-place win in the 200-yard freestyle relay. The relay consisted of Erica Halley, Katherine Nelson, Sammy Schuckles and Yontz earning a season best time of 1:33.93. They were followed in tenth-place (1:36.84) by Laura Paskoff, Nash, Emily Langlotz and Katelyn Kresal.

The meet continued with the 500-yard-freestyle where Cecilia Holmes earned seventh-place (4:59.73) Valerie Jones followed behind earning eleventh-place (5:05.36) and Yvette Kruk in twelfth (5:05.88).



Courtney Taylor kept the ball rolling when earned second-place in the 200-yard IM (2:03.88) setting a new personal best and the second fastest time in school history. Claire Haggerty earned tenth-place (2:07.83) setting a new personal best for herself in the 200-yard IM. Kristin Verkler set a new personal best during the 200-yard IM prelims with a time of 2:07.13. April Livingston also set a season best record of 2:17.63 in the prelims.

Yontz took home first-place in the 50-yard freestyle setting a new school record and personal best with a final time of 23.17. Following close behind Yontz, Halley earned sixth-place with a final time of 23.75. Katherine Nelson set a new season best in the 50-yard freestyle with a time of 24.07 with Schuckles trailing behind in sixteenth (24.39). Earlier in the day a number of season and personal bests were set in the 50-yard freestyle during prelims. Langlotz earned a new personal best (25.19), Allison Soper accomplished a new season best with a time of 25.42 and Paskoff set a personal best time of 24.48. Nash broke the school record in the 50-yard butterfly during the prelims with a time of 25.09.

The Redbirds had great success during the diving portion of the meet and diving coach Phil Hoffmann is ready to see what tomorrow has in store for the divers.

"I was very proud of the way the Redbird divers competed today. It was a great team effort, and I am glad to have all four girls score points for the team with their performances," Hoffmann said. "Molly earned a new personal best on the boards and Wenting had a great day too. Zhang received second-place in our conference and that is no small feat with the competition they go up against. She is competing at a very high level right now as you can tell with the new school record she set today. I am excited and looking forward to see how the redbird divers will compete tomorrow in the three-meter dive."

Zhang broke the Illinois State school record on the one-meter board today finishing in second-place with an overall score of 343.00. Continuing with the momentum Molly Schatz earned a new personal best on the one-meter board with a total score of 241.80 putting her in eleventh-place. Kelly Sanks finished her one-meter performance with a score of 236.90 and Maggie Kopp finished with 221.35 points.

Illinois State finished the night of taking second-place in the 400-yard medley relay with a time of 3:46.62, breaking the school record.. The relay consisted of upperclassman Schuckles, Courtney Taylor, Nash and Yonts. Rachel Root, Livingston, Yvette Kruk and Verkler finished in eighth-place (3:54.97).

"In terms of competition and strengths in the conference I am pleased with how we rebounded from our sluggish start this morning," Paska said. "It was an exciting night of competition, and we need to get ready to perform in the morning with more aggression."

The Redbirds will be competing again tomorrow starting with preliminaries at 11 am. and finals concluding the meet beginning at 6 pm. The divers will compete on the three-meter in between racing at 1 pm. Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.