The Northern Illinois track and field team is hosting the 2011 Mid-American Conference Outdoor Track and Field Championships this weekend at the NIU Track and Field & Soccer Complex.
The championships began this morning with the men’s hammer throw competition. Action begins at 11 a.m. Friday, May 13, with the 110-meter hurdles in the decathlon. The men’s high jump and discus and women’s triple jump will open competition at 11 a.m. Saturday, May 14.
“Hosting the MAC championships is a great honor for our program and our athletic department,” NIU head coach Connie Teaberry said. “We are thankful for the opportunity to host and we hope to put on a great championship for these great young ladies and men.
“I think it is a huge advantage to host because we know our facility and we don’t have to travel. We know the wind and the other factors that can effect competing here. I think our girls will do really well because we have practiced in this facility every day.”
Rasheta Butler enters the weekend with the second-fastest time in the conference in the 100-meter dash. Butler’s season-best time of 11.83 seconds, which matches her own school-record set last season, came at the Tom Botts Invitational on April 9. Butler also holds the seventh-best time in the 200-meter dash this season, running 24.53 seconds, also at the Tom Botts Invitational.
“We are looking this year to have a lot of young ladies score. We are right there; they all have the ability, now it is just the matter of believing. Rasheta is at the top of the 100 (meters) and top 10 in the 200 (meters), she should be a force to reckoned with. Rasheta also she anchors our 4×100 and 4×400, her mindset just pulls all the other girls along.”
In the 100-meter hurdles, Roneisha Frye has posted the second-fastest time in the MAC this season. Frye ran a season-best time of 13.95 seconds at the Tom Botts Invitational, just two one-hundredths of a second behind Brittany Cheese of Akron (13.93). Frye and Cheese are the only two MAC competitors to run sub-14 second times this season in the 100-meter hurdles.
The Huskies have set three new school records during the outdoor season, breaking marks in the 4×100-meter dash, triple jump and discus.
The quartet of Chanel Kellyman, Frye, Brittany Smith and Butler set the school-record April 30 in the 4×100 at the Drake Relays, clocking in with a time of 46.52 seconds, the fifth-fastest time in the league this season.
Jenner Sio rewrote the NIU record in the triple jump at UW Whitewater. Sio leaped 39-10.75 to set a new school mark, the fourth-best leap in the MAC this season.
Cora Caulfield set a new Huskie record in the discus throw this spring. Returning to action after back surgery, Caulfield set a new school-best in her first meet of the spring and then set the mark again with a throw of 162-11 at the Viking Olympics on March 26. Caulfield currently holds the sixth-best discus mark in the conference this season.
Tickets for the championship can be purchased each day at the gate. Individual day tickets are $10 for adults and $5 for youth and students. All-session passes will also be available for $25 for adults and $10 for youth and students.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.