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Cronin, Oldenburg take top spots at Illini Open

January 14, 2012
Rasheta Butler

Rasheta Butler

The Northern Illinois track and field team won two event titles Saturday at the Illini Open, while taking 15 top-five finishes inside the UI Armory.

Rebecca Cronin won her third event in as many meets with a victory in the 600 meters and Courtney Oldenburg dominated the 3000 meters. However, the lack of new personal bests concerned Huskie head coach Connie Teaberry.

“This meet was an eye-opener with how much we lost over the break,” Teaberry said. “Yet, we still had bright spots. Next week, we will be able to train in the Convocation Center again, which will enable us to return to our regular training techniques.”

“The staff is looking forward to seeing our improvement over the next couple of weeks.”

Cronin extended her streak of meet wins with a tight victory in the 600 meters, topping the field with a 1:35.67 clip. Not far behind the Bartlett, Ill., native was Jenelle McCalla, who finished third with a time of 1:39.01, and Andreanna Rowe, crossing the finish line at 1:40.40.

Oldenburg, meanwhile, earned a win in her first meet of the season with a time of 10:24.77, topping Saint Louis’ Lauren Fyalka by over two seconds and third place Elise Medley, also of SLU, by almost 10 seconds.

In the sprint events, Janay Mitchell, Rasheta Butler and Roneisha Frye each earned top-five finishes in their respective events. Mitchell took fourth place in the 60 meters, clocking in at 7.67 in the finals. Frye also took fourth place, doing so in the 60 hurdles with a time of 8.80. For Butler, she placed second in the 400 meters and fifth in the 200 meters with times of 57.92 and 25.08, respectively.

NIU also took two of the top four places in the 4×400 relay. Chanel Kellyman, Cronin, Mitchell and Butler teamed up to place second with a time of 3:59.88. Following that quartet was McCalla, Julianne Cronin, Rowe and Erica Miller, timing in at 4:07.76 to take fourth.

In field events, five NIU athletes wound up in the top five in their events. Sidra Sherrill was responsible for two of those, placing third in the shot put, reaching 40-09.00 (12.42m), and fifth in the weight throw.

Jenner Sio placed second in the triple jump with a mark of 38-03.50 (11.67m) and Kelly Moser finished fourth in the high jump, reaching a height of 5-03.00 (1.60m). Freshman Taylor Jenkins set a new personal best in the pole vault, hitting the 10-04.00 (3.15m) mark for a fifth place finish.

The Huskies return to Champaign next weekend when they compete in the Illini Classic. The meet begins Friday at 4 p.m. with multi events, then continues Saturday morning at 9 a.m.

For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit