The Northern Illinois University track and field team scored points in six different events – including three top-five finishes – Saturday, as they wrapped up competition at the 2014 Mid-American Conference Indoor Championships.
The Huskies finished in 10th place with 37 points, which is the second-most points ever scored by NIU at the MAC indoor meet. Kent State won the team title with 127.5 points, outpacing Akron’s 98.5 and Eastern Michigan’s 91.5.
“This is a bittersweet moment in our MAC Championships history,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry.
“We closed out the second day with Latesha (Bigby) again adding huge points in the 60 hurdles and 60 meters, along with Claudette Day picking up needed points in the high jump and hurdles. These two ladies left it all on the track all weekend and the staff could not have asked for more,” Teaberry added. “We just missed out on eighth place. A difference of one point is hard for any coach to accept missing a place by when you know there were areas of underachievement. The talent is there. We have to keep pushing their desire to believe, but our direction up is clear.”
Following a strong showing Friday, junior Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC) continued to rack up points for the Huskies. The Jamaican sensation earned a third-place finish in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.50, which is one-hundredth of a second behind the NIU record. Moments later, Bigby returned for the 60 meters and ran 7.57 to place fifth. In field events, she took 14th place in the high jump at 5-02.75 (1.58m).
Fellow multi-event standout Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) also earned team points for NIU. The freshman claimed sixth place in the high jump by tying her personal record with a 5-06.00 (1.68m) leap. Additionally, Day placed eighth in the 60 hurdles at a time of 8.75.
Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./North) ended her indoor season on a high note. The junior earned a fourth-place finish in the mile, crossing the finish line at 4:53.60 despite a stumble midway through the race. Later on in the afternoon, Heuer ran 10:04.46 in the 3000 meters to capture 10th place.
Fellow distance runners Ali Olson (New Auburn, Wis./Bloomer) and Hannah Savage (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls) each posted personal records in the mile. For Olson, she scored two points for the Huskies with a seventh-place showing following a run of 4:55.89. Meanwhile, Savage ran 5:01.19 to claim 12th place.
In the final MAC indoor meet of her career, Rebecca Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) finished the 800 meters in sixth place with a time of 2:12.01.
Sidra Sherrill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) scored points in throws with an eighth place finish in the shot put, where she tossed a PR distance of 47-02.50 (14.39m). Meanwhile, Tyra Bickham earned a 20th place finish with a mark of 40-06.75 (12.36m).
Colleen Krawczykowski (Villa Park, Ill./Willowbrook) wrapped up the field events in the triple jump, leaping 33-07.25 (10.24m) to set a new career-best mark.
The 4×400 relay of Bigby, Cronin, Tahtyana Peer (Milwaukee, Wis./King) and Julianne Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) rounded out the scoring for the Huskies with an eighth-place showing at 3:47.15, beating out EMU for the final point. Their time also shattered the school record of 3:47.74 set at the 2012 MAC Indoor Championships.
With the indoor season completed, the Huskies start the outdoor campaign Saturday, March 22, when they head to suburban St. Louis for SIU Edwardsville’s Cougar Classic.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.