The Northern Illinois University track and field team ended its stay in Philadelphia with another record-setting performance Saturday as the Huskies shattered the school record in the 4×800 relay at the Penn Relays.
Ali Olson (New Auburn, Wis./Bloomer), Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./North), Jamie Burr (Onalaska, Wis./Onalaska) and Julianne Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett) teamed up to run 8:59.14, topping the old NIU standard by over 20 seconds.
“We had another solid day of competition between the Penn Relays and Lions Invitational,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. “This was definitely a good week of track & field by the athletes. With the athletes setting school and personal records and earning medals, you know they left it all on the track. Each week, the staff begins to see their improvements and we are definitely heading in the right direction.”
Running in the Championship of America race that included national powers Villanova, Oregon and Tennessee, the Huskies held their own, as Olson put NIU in eighth after the first leg. From there, Heuer and Burr kept NIU in the eighth position, while Cronin held off Indiana and Army’s relay squads to claim eighth and crush the school record of 9:21.73 set in 2005 by Ajahnae Hinley, Alicja Czajka, April Lowery and Lorene Skipper.
In total, the Huskies broke three school records during the 2014 Penn Relays. In addition to the 4×800 relay, new NIU records were set in the heptathlon and distance medley relay.
Huskies Claim Five Wins at Lions Invitational
Not far from historic Franklin Field, the rest of the Huskies earned five event titles at the Lions Invitational hosted by The College of New Jersey.
The biggest performance of the day came in the field events, where Sidra Sherrill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) earned a Mid-American Conference automatic bid in the discus with a career-best throw of 159-10 (48.67m), topping her previous best by over nine feet en route to a first-place finish. The junior also took second in the shot put with a distance of 45-01.50 (13.75m).
Trailing Sherrill by one spot in both events was Tyra Bickham (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs). The freshman tossed 44-02.50 (13.47m) in the shot put for third place, then hit 144-10 (44.16m) in the discus for third place.
In her first competition since setting the school heptathlon record on Wednesday, Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) earned top honors in the long jump. The freshman leaped 18-07.75 (5.68m), easily outdistancing Princeton’s Lily Miller for first.
On the track, Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC) had a hand in two wins. The junior won the 100 hurdles at 14.16, then teamed up with Alexandria Isom (St. Louis, Mo./Nerinx Hall), A’Iesha Irvin-Muhammad (East St. Louis, Ill./St. Elizabeth Academy) and Tahtyana Peer (Milwaukee, Wis./King) in the 4×100 relay to run 46.78, beating out Southern Connecticut State for top honors.
Julianne Cronin also claimed a victory in New Jersey in the 400 meters. Just two hours before running the anchor leg of NIU’s record-setting 4×800 relay at the Penn Relays, Cronin ran 57.02 to beat the rest of the field.
The Huskies get a weekend off next week before returning to the track Saturday, May 10, for their regular season finale at the Wisconsin Open in Madison, Wisconsin.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.