The Northern Illinois track and field team had a great showing on their home track Saturday at the Huskie Open with nine event titles and several personal records.
NIU controlled the field events, as Huskies won four of the eight events contested. They would also take wins in three sprint events, the 4×100 relay and 4×400 relay. “The ladies did a great job today,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry.
“Despite the head wind, all of the athletes executed and competed well. It was also great to see their family and friends support their efforts. The day of meet management by Adam Lotito and Sue Hansfield was a huge success. Coach (Kevin) Dwyer and I are grateful to all the volunteers. Because of their hard work, the staff was able to coach our athletes to quality performances.
On the track, Megan Gregory dominated the 100 hurdles en route to NIU’s second event title of the day. The senior from Chicago crossed the finish line at 14.48, nearly one second better than second place finisher Sarah Gordon of DePaul. Finishing in fifth was Natalie Tarter with a time of 15.65.
Janay Mitchell took first place in the 100 meters to lead the Huskie charge. Mitchell clocked in at 12.15, followed by Brittany Smith in third place at 12.51. Chanel Kellyman was fourth with a time of 12.54 and Alexandra Rowe ran 12.94 to finish in sixth.
The Huskies swept the stand in the 200 meters with a one-through-three finish. Gregory led the way with a time of 25.84, followed by Rowe in second at 26.29 and Smith in third at 26.34.
For the 400 meters, Erica Miller put forth a strong effort to finish in second place, crossing the finish line at 1:00.38. Just one spot behind her was teammate Alicia Osley with a time of 1:00.46. Also finishing second in her event was Julie Cronin, who was runner up in the 800 meters. The sophomore notched a time of 2:17.62 – just two hundredths of a second behind DePaul’s Nora Smith.
Jenelle McCalla scored a third place finish in the 400 hurdles with a time of 1:04.45. After holding the lead for the third quarter of the race, the senior lost steam and fell back right before the finish line.
NIU’s relays started the afternoon by knocking off UIC in the 4×100 relay. Smith, Kellyman, Alicia Osley and Gregory knocked off the Flames’ contingent with a time of 48.29. The 4×400 relay team of McCalla, Kristal Pitts, Cronin and Rowe raced to a time of 3:55.15, easily outdistancing second place UIC’s time of 4:06.73.
In the field, Sidra Sherrill scored a new PR in the shot put with a toss of 46-08.00 (14.22m) to win the event. The throw also vaulted Sherrill into the top 20 of the MAC with only three weeks left before the conference championships. Not far behind was freshman Olivia Herzog, who finished in third with a PR mark of 43-03.25 (13.19m).
The duo of Sherrill and Herzog combined to take third and sixth, respectively, in the discus. Sherrill threw 143-11 (43.86m) and Herzog got a distance of 129-10 (39.57m).
Ida Burbulla notched first place in the high jump, topping UIC’s Sharon Mwale with a mark of 5-03.00 (1.60m). The jump was the second consecutive week in which the German freshman reached that mark.
NIU controlled the long jump with Huskies taking three of the top four spots with personal records. Alex Schad earned the win with a leap of 17-05.50 (5.32m). Meanwhile, Michaela Dwyer was second at 17-04.75 (5.30m) and Tarter was fourth at 17-00.50 (5.19m).
Dwyer opened the day with a bang for the Huskies by winning the javelin in convincing fashion. The sophomore led wire-to-wire and capped off the win with a career-best toss of 103-03 (31.47m) in her final throw. Meanwhile, teammate Natalie Tarter took fourth place at 70-10 (21.61m) in her first ever meet throwing the javelin.
Huskies Excel at Beach Invitational
With both competing in the 800 meters, Heuer clinched an automatic berth to the Mid-American Conference Championship with a time of 2:09.82 to place 11th overall. One heat later, Burr blasted her career best by running 2:12.56 and taking 21st in the 100-plus runner field.
Though she came a half second short of an auto berth, Burr still ranks ninth in the MAC’s performance list. For Heuer, her time sits as the third best in the conference.
“This was a great way to end our stay in southern California,” said NIU assistant coach Greg Hipp. “Meghan stepped up and ran more aggressively and it paid off. Jamie showed a lot of guys to go after a personal best after missing the last six weeks of racing. Hopefully, these runs will jumpstart our distance group as we get closer to the MAC Championship.”
The Huskies return to action next weekend with their second straight split-squad weekend. Part of the team will head to the Keystone State to compete in the Penn Relays and the West Chester Last Chance Qualifier. Meanwhile, the rest of the team will run at the UW-Whitewater Alternative Meet.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.