The Northern Illinois University track and field team set two more school records Saturday in Athens, Ohio, as they closed out the 2014 Mid-American Conference Outdoor Championships.
NIU finished ninth place in the team standings with 42 points, edging out host Ohio by one point and Toledo by five. Kent State took home the team title with 132 points.
“We had a strong finish today,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. “Our staff is proud of the athletes’ focus and competitive efforts. This weekend, the coaches watched the team come together and mature, which enabled us to move up. NIU track & field is moving forward one championship at a time and I’m honored to watch them grow as a team and as individuals.”
Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./North) posted NIU’s first record-setting performance of the day in the 1500 meters. The redshirt junior from St. Charles, Illinois, took second with a time of 4:26.68 – topping the previous school best of 4:27.64 by Courtney Oldenburg in 2012 – en route to earning second team all-conference recognition. Heuer also claimed seventh in the 800 meters at 2:14.31.
Equally as impressive, though, was the performance of NIU’s 4×400 relay team of Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC), Julianne Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett), Tahtyana Peer (Milwaukee, Wis./King) and Rebecca Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett). The quartet not only gave NIU a third-place finish in the event, but clocked in at 3:41.01 to beat the school record of 3:46.21 by over five seconds.
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The Huskies got a big boost in points by scoring fourth-place finishes in three events. The 4×100 relay of Brittany Smith (Cincinnati, Ohio/Withrow University), A’Iesha Irvin-Muhammad (East St. Louis, Ill./St. Elizabeth Academy), Peer and Bigby opened the afternoon with a run of 46.17 to take fourth. Less than an hour later, Bigby gave NIU five more points in the 100 hurdles at a time of 13.94, while Rebecca Cronin ran 2:09.49 in the 800 meters.
Rounding out NIU’s competitors on the track were Irvin-Muhammad and Hannah Savage (Cedar Falls, Iowa/Cedar Falls). Irvin-Muhammad grabbed eighth in the 200 meters at a time of 24.42 and Savage ran 4:43.94 in the 1500 meters, finishing 10th.
Tyra Bickham (Blue Springs, Mo./Blue Springs) and Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) scored points for NIU in the field events. Bickham took eighth in the discus with a throw of 153-08 (46.83m), while Day reached 5-03.25 (1.61m) in the high jump to take eighth. In addition, Sidra Sherrill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop) finished 12th in the shot put at 146-05 (44.64m), Michaela Dwyer (Arlington Heights, Ill./John Hersey) took 15th in the high jump at 5-01.25 (1.56m) and Alex Schad (Milwaukee, Wis./Lutheran) placed 18th in the triple jump at 33-04.75 (10.18m).
The Huskies continue with the postseason in two weeks, as they head to Arkansas for the 2014 NCAA West Preliminary Round starting May 29 through May 31. The full list of qualifiers will be announced Thursday.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.