WMU - Track & Field Takes Second at Illini Classic

WMU - Track & Field Takes Second at Illini Classic

Provided by WMU

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. -- The Western Michigan track and field team continued its strong start to the season by taking second place at the Illini Classic on Saturday.

The Broncos put in a true team performance to rack up 109 points, finishing only behind champions and hosts Illinois with 142. Eastern Illinois took third, Northern Illinois finished in fourth with 79 points and St. Louis rounded out the top five with 49 points.

"This week was definitely a step up in competition from last week and I thought we matched that competitiveness," said head coach Kelly Lycan. "Our execution needs to be smoothed out still but it's early on and we will keep getting better. I thought overall today was better than last week. I was pleased with our effort, we tried hard out there."

Western Michigan won two events on the day with Maria McDaniel claiming the top spot in the mile run for the second-straight week. McDaniel fell just shy of breaking 4:50 and finished at 4:50.34, over 1.28 seconds ahead of Katherine Turner from Butler. The two were neck-and-neck until the final 200 meters when McDaniels pulled away.

"During cross country season we worked a lot on her finish," said Lycan. "It was great to see a strong finish from her in that race."

The other winner was Ayiana Gaines in the triple jump. Gaines improved on her jump from last week and finished at 38 feet, 5 inches. Gaines also went on to claim second in the 400-meter dash with a time of 57.51. The sophomore sprinter was seeded in the fast heat and won but Asia Thomas from Northern Illinois ended up with the fastest overall time from the other heat.

The Broncos had a good day in the short sprints with Sarita Dotson and Naiomi Dulaney both scored in the 60-meter dash. Dotson claimed fourth with a time of 7.78 seconds and Dulaney was just behind her at 7.83. Dotson also went on to take third place in the 200-meter dash with a time of 25.38 seconds.

Senior Jordan Anderson turned in a personal-best time in the 800-meter dash. After nearly breaking 2:18 so many times last season she finally broke through and ran 2:17.53 to take third place and earn six points. Anderson was also a part of the 4x400-meter relay squad that took second place, along with Dulaney, Gaines and Keyera Lige.

In the field events WMU took fourth and fifth in the pole vault. Kirstie Wieber reached 11 feet, 9.75 inches to take fourth and fellow senior Reagan Engstrom was right behind her at 10 feet, 10 inches. Western Michigan also had two scorers in the long jump with Diana Holsey taking fourth place at 16 feet, 8 inches and Allison Hufnagel in seventh at 15 feet, 11.75 inches.

Brittany Casey and Savannah Dugan each scored in the shot put. Casey took sixth with a distance of 37 feet, 5 inches and Dugan finished in eight with a distance of 37 feet, 1.75 inches. Junior Samantha Howard had a career-best night in the weight throw after taking third overall with a distance of 47 feet, 5.75 inches.

Western Michigan is back in action next Saturday at the Notre Dame Invitational.