The Northern Illinois University track & field team continues with their postseason this weekend in Fayetteville, Arkansas, when they compete in the NCAA West Preliminary Round.
The meet starts Thursday afternoon at Arkansas’ John McDonnell Field and runs through Saturday evening. The Huskies will be represented at the meet by Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West), Meghan Heuer (St. Charles, Ill./North), Ali Olson (New Auburn, Wis./Bloomer) and Sidra Sherrill (Fort Wayne, Ind./Northrop), who will compete in the high jump, 800 meters and discus, respectively.
“We are excited for the athletes that qualified for the Preliminary Round of the NCAA Championships,” said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. “Ali, Meghan, Sidra and Claudette have worked extremely hard to arrive at this opportunity. Their performances thus far have placed them in an elite group. If they continue to compete with confidence, we should see those times and mark surpassed, which could land these ladies spots in the final round in Oregon.”
NIU kicked off its postseason run two weeks ago at the Mid-American Conference Championships, where they placed ninth with 42 points and broke three school records. Heuer led the Huskies with a second-place finish in the 1500 meters with a school-record clip of 4:26.68, while the 4×400 relay team took third with their record time of 3:41.01. NIU also tallied fourth-place finishes in the heptathlon with Day’s record-setting 5,050 points, 800 meters with Rebecca Cronin (Bartlett, Ill./Bartlett), 100 hurdles with Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC) and 4×100 relay.
This weekend, the Huskies’ quartet will take on some of the country’s best in hopes of advancing to the NCAA National Championships June 11-14 in Eugene, Oregon. In the 800 meters, Heuer and Olson will go head-to-head against 2013 national finalists Laura Roesler (Oregon), Samantha Murphy (Oregon) and Amy Weissenbach (Stanford). Meanwhile, Day’s high jump competition includes five returning national qualifiers and Sherrill’s discus field boasts six returning national qualifiers – including defending national champion Anna Jelmini of Arizona State and defending runner-up Julie Labonte of Arizona.
In each event, the top 12 finishers advance to Oregon’s historic Hayward Field for the national meet. Heading into the meet, Day is 19th in the high jump and Sherrill ranks 34th in the discus, while Heuer and Olson sit 33rd and 40th in the 800 meters, respectively.
Live results are available on FlashResults.com.
NIU Schedule at the NCAA West Preliminary Round
Thursday, May 29
8:35 p.m. – 800 Meters First Round (Heuer, Olson)
Friday, May 30
3 p.m. – Discus (Sherrill)
7:15 p.m. – 800 Meters Quarterfinal (Heuer, Olson)
*Top three in each heat plus next six fastest times in first round advance to quarterfinal of 800 meters
Saturday, May 31
6 p.m. – High Jump (Day)