Turilli breaks university record at home meet

By Regina Spachner

Senior Jaime Turilli had one goal in mind going into Saturday’s National Collegiate Championship meet: to break the school record in the 3,000m run.

“I knew I could probably break the record,” Turilli said. “That was definitely what I was shooting for- 9 minutes and thirty seconds.”

Turilli’s finishing time of 9:28.34 seconds broke the 17 year-old school record previously held by Melissa Straza and is an indoor NCAA-provisional qualifying time.

“Jaime did an absolutely great job,” said head coach Gary Winckler. “A lot of credit goes to Cassie (Hunt) and Maggie (Carroll), who were the rabbits to get her going. It’s a very tough thing to run that fast by yourself, so I give a lot of credit to that whole trio.”

Hunt and Carroll began the race running along side Turilli, but later dropped out of the race as part of Turilli’s strategy.

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“It means a lot,” Turilli said. “I probably never imagined that I’d hold the Illinois record. It’s not anything that I really thought of.”

The Illini captured 23 top three finishes and took the top three spots in the 60-m hurdles, pole vault and long jump. The team finished on top overall with 223 points, ahead of Kent State and Vanderbilt.

“The good thing about this meet is that it was a big meet in terms of 10 teams,” Winckler said. “It’s two days and that’s what the Big Ten is. Everyone gets a chance to experience that timeline of what it’s like to run two days in a row. It’s going to be a big benefit, particularly for freshmen who haven’t gone through that before.”

Sophomore Yvonne Mensah ran a personal-best and a provisional qualifying time of 8.23 seconds in the 60 m hurdles.

“I’m pretty pleased with myself,” Mensah said. “I was really excited to do hurdles today. It was something I worked a lot on the past few weeks to get my technique down. My goal was to run 8.22 seconds and I ran 8.23, so I’m pleased.”

Mensah won the event, followed by Illinois freshmen Laneisha Waller and Tiffany Nesfield and sophomore Camile Robinson. Mensah also took first in the 60m and 200m dash.

“Yvonne is just going to get better every week,” Winckler said. “She’s going to have a really good year and the time she ran in the hurdles today will probably get her to nationals.”

Freshmen Ashley Hanshaw, Amanda Pintaro and Samantha Scheidegger took the top three spots in the pole vault.

“Ashley’s done another great job, all three of the pole vaulters,” Winckler said. “It’s going to be a bright season. Everybody being freshmen, it’s kind of exciting to see what the freshmen are doing this early in the year.”