Women’s track wins final home meet
April 18, 2018
The Illinois Twilight meet on Saturday was one to remember for seniors Nicole Choquette and Sara McKeeman.
The pair capped off their final home meet as Illini with first-place finishes in the 800-meter run and pole vault, respectively. Overall, Illinois took home six first-place finishes and won the team title at their only home event of the season.
McKeeman began the day in pole vault, passing 13’5.75” (4.11 meters) and finishing first with a new personal record. Her teammates freshman Kristin Slaughter and sophomores Chisom Nwoko and Carolyn Nye rounded out the top four spots in the event.
Illinois head coach Mike Turk credited his players, as well as the surrounding conditions when asked about the team’s pole vault performance.
“It was a good night to vault because they had a little tailwind behind them and no crosswind,” Turk said. “That takes out some of the unknown for them, and I think that we were able to go out there and really let things go and compete.”
McKeeman’s personal best height came on her final attempt, after clearing her first three bars without a miss. Nye also set a personal best height, as she cleared 12’4” (3.76 meters).
Turk raved about Nye, who has had an up and down sophomore season.
“I can’t say enough how proud and happy I am for Carolyn Nye,” Turk said. “I have watched her training improve, and she stayed healthy and now she is competing. There is nothing better than to see someone getting out of the pit and having a smile on their face.”
In the field events, junior Briana Driver took home the title and improved on her longest jump of the season, with a distance of 19’9” (6.02 meters). In the same event, senior Janile Rogers finished in fourth place with a distance of 18’4.5” (5.60 meters).
While two of the six titles were in the field events, the other four came in running events. The Illini won the 800-meter run and 100-meter run, and the 4×100-meter relay and 4×400-meter relay.
In her final home meet as an Illini, Choquette led the way in the 800-meter run with a season-best time of 2:07.84. Also finishing in the top six were freshmen Rebecca Craddock and Mikaela Lucki, who finished fourth and sixth respectively. Craddock’s 2:11.92 performance was a personal best. Lucki ran a 2:13.66, which was very close to her personal best as well.
In the sprints, junior Emone’ Davis also set a personal record in the 100-meter dash with a time of 12.01 second to win the event. Rogers was not far behind, finishing second with a time of 12.02.
Turk was content with the results from his team’s relays, as the 4×100-meter relay also ran down the event title with a time of 45.69 seconds. The unit included Davis, Rogers, Driver and junior Sade Hargrove.
Following the 4×100-meter victory was the sixth and final title in the 4×400-meter relay. The team of freshmen Amira Aduma, Ololade Ayoola, Nwoko and Choquette timed 3:58.13.
“I thought the women’s [relay] was much improved on the relay exchanges,” said Turk. “The exchanges last week weren’t good, and I wasn’t happy about it. But, they were much better today. The women had one exchange that was a little shaky, but they made they got the stick around, and that’s a big learning experience for them.”
The women’s team will travel to California next weekend for the Mt. SAC Relays, Beach Invite and Bryan Clay Invite. The meets will take place from Thursday through Saturday.