Redbirds Head to Zippy Invitational
Erica Halley
Erica Halley

Dec. 5, 2013

NORMAL, Ill. - - The Illinois State swimming and diving will be competing against eight Division 1 and Division 2 colleges in Akron, Ohio at the Zippy Invitational this weekend.

This is the 14th year in a row the Redbirds have participated in the Invitational. The line-up of this year's teams competing includes Toledo, Illinois State, Akron, St. Bonaventure, Marshall, Niagara, Clarion, Bloomburg and Indiana University Pennsylvania. The preliminaries will begin at 10 a.m. and the finals will start at 6:00 p.m. on Friday and Saturday. Sunday will be the final day of competition with the prelims starting at 9 a.m. and the finals will conclude the weekend at 4 p.m.

The Invitational is the focal point of the Redbird's fall schedule and head coach Steve Paska has confidence in the capabilities of how the 2013-14 team will compete.

"We treat the Zippy Invitational as the fall championship meet," said Paska. "The first seven weeks of the season the student-athletes rose to the challenge and competed strong in each of their meets. These last three weeks they have focused on training and preparing for the invite."

Last year the Redbirds earned third-place overall finishing with 1188.5 points. This weekend they are looking to finish among the top teams again.

"Historically we have had tremendous success finishing among the top four teams in the invitational," said Paska. "I believe this year's group of student-athletes on our team has the talent to finish in the top four teams again. I am eager to see how the Redbirds compete against a wide range of talent this weekend."

The Illinois State divers will also be participating in this weekend's invite. Diving coach Phil Hoffman believes this weekend is a great opportunity for the Redbirds to prepare for Conference and for the older divers to exemplify leadership.

"What I enjoy most about the Zippy Invitational is the wide range of conferences and divers in attendance," said Hoffman. "There is always a strong showing of divers at this meet. This is the only two day match-up for them throughout the season. It is important for divers to compete in the prelims and finals at this level to prepare for conference in Feb. I am looking to seeing the leadership in Wenting Zhang and Maggie Kopp this weekend as they lead the Illinois State divers."



Illinois State swimming and diving is heading to the Zippy Inovational with a 3-1 record and Hoffmann is excited to see the level of competition this weekend.

"There will be several top teams at this invitational, but our team is ready to go, and it is anyone's day. Our number one goal this weekend is to score points for the team which everyone has the opportunity to do. I am interested to see how our competitiveness will carry us out the rest of the semester and into the New Year."

The Redbirds last competed on Nov. 8 at Horton against Evansville. Illinois State was victorious over the Purple Aces with a final score of 180-110. Several swimmers earned first-place in multiple events that evening including junior Marissa Yontz earning first-place in 200-yard freestyle (1:54.04) and the 100-yard freestyle (52.63). Sophomore Courtney Taylor earned first-place in 100-yard breaststroke (1:06.61) and 200-yard breaststroke (2:23.16). Junior Lexi Nash took home first-place in the 200-yard butterfly (2:10.71) and the 100-yard butterfly (57.47). She was also a member of the first-place pool record breaking 200-yard medley relay (1:47.00) along with teammates Sammy Schuckles, Courtney Taylor and Katherine Nelson.

The meet will be streamed live on Your online source for Illinois State Athletics, tickets, Weisbecker Scholarship Fund gifts, multimedia, Redbird merchandise, photos and more.