Meanwhile, Kelsey Hildreth, the fantastic freshman distance runner from the NIU women’s track and field team, has been named Mid-American Conference Women’s Track Athlete of the Week.
Stepp led the way for NIU as the Huskies rallied for a 192.250-189.575 victory over UIC at the UIC Pavilion in the season opener.
A senior from Lapeer, Mich., she finished first in all three events she competed in, scoring a personal best 9.850 on the balance beam, a 9.725 on the vault and a 9.700 in the floor exercise. The 9.850 on the beam tops her personal best of 9.750 she set at Arizona State last season.
Stepp and the Huskies return to action Friday when NIU welcomes Kent State to the Convocation Center for the MAC opener for both schools. Competition begins at 7 p.m. and admission is free.
Hildreth (Byron, Ill./Byron) earned the recognition after her competitive debut on the track for NIU resulted in her breaking the nearly decade-old indoor school record in the 3000m run and winning the race in dominant fashion last Saturday at the Gene Edmonds Cup Invitational hosted by Purdue in West Lafayette, Ind.
The Huskie frosh finished the 3K race Saturday in 9:41.78, beating Alicja Czajka’s previous school record set back in 2005 by the slimmest of margins – just .04 seconds – while taking first place in the event over her closest competitor by more than 30 seconds.
Hildreth was an All-MAC and NCAA Midwest All-Region cross country runner in the fall and has started her track career in similarly impressive fashion, becoming just the second Huskie in the past three years to be recognized for a weekly track award by the conference. Meghan Heuer was the other after earning the recognition last May.
The NIU women’s track and field team returns to action this Saturday at the Illini Classic in Urbana.
For more information on NIU athletics, visit www.niuhuskies.com.