Kelsey Hildreth (Byron, Ill./Byron) of the Northern Illinois University women’s track and field team broke the NIU school record in the 3K distance run in her collegiate track debut.
Several other Huskies also produced personal-best performances Saturday afternoon at the Gene Edmonds Cup Invitational at Purdue University in West Lafayette, Ind.
Hildreth, who finished as an All-Mid-American Conference and All-Midwest Region cross country runner in her freshman fall semester, made her first appearance on the track for NIU and won the 3K by more than 30 seconds. Her time of 9:41.78 was .04 seconds below Alicja Czajka’s previous school record set nearly a decade ago in 2005.
NIU also dominated the high jump by taking the top three spots with returning NCAA qualifier Claudette Day (Belleville, Ill./Belleville West) and freshman debutant Chennel Palmer (Kingston, Jamaica/St. Andrew) tying for first by clearing 1.68m. Senior Latesha Bigby (Hanover, Jamaica/Butler CC) took third in the event with a personal record 1.63m clearance.
Competing against host school Purdue, Mississippi, IUPUI, Western Kentucky and several other schools, the Huskies produced 18 top-10 finishes, nine top-five finishes and set several personal records during a successful first event of the 2015 calendar year, a result that pleased Connie Teaberry, NIU director of track and field and cross country.
“Today was a good day for the Huskie track and field student-athletes,” Teaberry said after the day’s competition. “Kelsey Hildreth led the way and Claudette Day had a busy day. Coming off winter break, the team’s performances surpassed the staff’s expectations for their first competition of 2015. We attribute their success to their will to compete and their support for one another. We’re definitely moving in the right direction.”
NIU won’t have to wait long to return to action as the Huskies travel Saturday to the Illini Classic in Urbana.
60m: Bigby led the way for the Huskies in the 60m dash with an eighth-place finish (7.71). Several of her teammates weren’t far behind as A’Iesha Irvin-Muhammad (9th, 7.73), freshman debutant Lydia Harold (12th, 7.84), Claudette Day (15th, 7.93), Destini Artis (21st, 8.13) and Logan Tillmon (22nd, 8.24) also competed in the event.
400m: Colleen Krawczykowski (17th, 1:05.17) was the lone Huskie to race in the 400m dash.
600m: Alexandria Isom (8th, 1:41.80) represented NIU in the 600m dash for the first time in her career.
Mile: Hannah Savage (9th, 5:16.94) picked up another top-10 finish for NIU in the mile race.
3000m: Hildreth (1st, 9:41.78) won her first collegiate track & field event in memorable fashion, crossing the line more than 30 seconds before her nearest rival and setting the NIU school record in the 3K in the process, besting Czajka’s time that had stood nearly a decade by just .04 seconds. Carly Pederson (10th, 10:38.57) also set a personal record in the event and finished in the top 10, while Taylor Perkins (17th, 11:02.20) made her NIU track debut.
60m Hurdles: Day (4th, 8.66) earned another top-five finals finish for NIU, while Bigby (8.59) also qualified for the finals with a solid preliminary race. Artis (11th, 9.34) and Tillmon (12th, 9.53) also ran in the prelims of the event.
4x400m Relay: NIU’s top relay team of Isom, Bigby, Irvin-Muhammad and Harold finished fourth in this sprint relay with a time of 3:58.91.
High Jump: Day and Palmer shared the top spot in the high jump after both cleared 5-06.00 (1.68m), a mark which tied Day’s personal indoor record from last season. NIU also took third in the event thanks to Bigby’s personal-best effort of 5-04.25 (1.63m).
Long Jump: Day (5th, 5.57m) produced a much-improved long jump than her effort at Notre Dame in December, and Latesha Bigby (8th, 5.43m) and Alexandra Schad (11th, 5.02m) also recorded respectable results in the event.
Triple Jump: Schad was the lone Huskie to compete in the triple jump, finishing fifth after a strong effort of 10.60m
Weight Throw: Scott represented NIU in the weight throw, finishing seventh with a 15.55m toss.
For more information on NIU track and field and Huskie athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.