The Northern Illinois track and field team brought home two event titles Saturday at the Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships, as Janay Mitchell won the 100 meters and the 4×100 relay successfully defended their conference title.
As a team, NIU finished in eighth place with a program-best 55.33 points. Kent State won the team championship, edging out Toledo in the final event of the day.
“The ladies definitely placed an exclamation mark on the regular season with their MAC performances this weekend,” said Huskie head coach Connie Teaberry. “The family and fan support aided our athletes in achieving greatness. Their belief in themselves and each other helped them execute. The staff is extremely proud of the student-athletes and their achievements academically and athletically. This is a sign of promising performances in the future.”
Mitchell completed her weekend by going wire-to-wire in the 100 meters, breaking the tape with a time of 11.66 to earn the conference crown and first team All-MAC honors. In addition, the Teaneck, N.J. native became the third different Huskie individual to win a conference title, joining Alicja Czajka’s 3000 steeplechase win in 2005 and Ashley Morrow’s 2006 triumph in the shot put.
Meanwhile, Mitchell joined Chanel Kellyman, Roneisha Frye and Rasheta Butler to win the 4×100 relay with a school-record time of 45.11, beating second place Western Michigan to the line by nearly a half-second. The first team All-MAC quartet also earned NIU’s first back-to-back conference titles in program history and became the third different school in MAC history to win the event in consecutive seasons.
Frye took second team All-MAC honors by placing second in the 100 hurdles, easily breaking the NIU record with a 13.63 run. That time also puts her in 27th place in the West Region – all but assuring her of a spot in the NCAA West Preliminary Round in Austin, Texas.
Kellyman played a large part individually in NIU’s record point total, as she accounted for nine points in the 100 meters and 200 meters. The Canadian took fourth place in the 200 meters with a 24.33 clip, while finishing fifth in the 100 meters at 11.90.
Rounding out the sprints were Butler and Erin Milner. Butler would take seventh in the 200 meters behind a 24.42 mark, while Milner earned a seventh place showing in the 400 hurdles with a 1:02.70 clip.
In the mid-distance events, Courtney Oldenburg earned a top five finish in the 1,500 meters with a 4:28.98 run to finish in fifth place. Additionally, Rebecca Cronin finished just outside the top five with a sixth place finish in the 800 meters at 2:09.55.
NIU closed out the day with a seventh place finish in the 4×400 relay, as Kellyman, Rebecca Cronin, Julianne Cronin and Butler timed in at 3:48.57.
The Huskies will return to competition in two weeks when they head for the NCAA West Preliminary Round from Thursday, May 24, through Saturday, May 26, at the University of Texas. However, which NIU athletes will advance to the prelims will not be known until noon CT Thursday, May 17, when the official field is announced on NCAA.com.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.