Women set new personal bests in multiple events

Online Poster

Online Poster

By Regina Spachner

Women’s track and field head coach Gary Winckler wanted his team to focus on gaining competitive times this past weekend at the Tyson Invitational, and that is exactly what it did.

The team returned home after breaking a school record and earning both a NCAA provisional qualifying mark and several personal bests.

“We had a pretty good day,” Winckler said. “Cassie (Hunt) and Jaime (Turilli) set personal bests, and a new school record in the 3000m run. We had personal records by both triple jumpers.”

This is the second consecutive week that Hunt has broken the school record in the 3000m run. This past weekend, she shed 6.78 seconds off her pervious record and stands at the top with a time of 9:20.90. Turilli’s finishing time of 9:23.44 in the same event at the Tyson Invitational earns her the second place spot in school history. Together, Hunt and Turilli hold the top-five record spots for Illinois.

“The whole week we were concentrating on getting on the fast track and qualifying for NCAA’s,” Hunt said. “We were not focused at all on records or anything. I mean it’s good to hold the record, but we weren’t really thinking about it.”

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This was just one of the many meets this season that Hunt and Turilli have raced together.

“She helps me out a lot,” Hunt said. “We train together and try to listen for our coach and stay together during races. If she’s not having a good day or I’m not having a good day, we work with each other and push each other to work harder.”

Freshmen Maggie Carroll and Rachel Hernandez earned career bests in the 3000m and one mile run, respectively, while sophomore Camile Robinson’s 400m finishing time of 55.51 seconds equaled a personal record. Sophomore Carlene Robinson captured first place in the 800m run with a time of 2:10.01.

In the field, Junior Nina Henson’s triple jump mark of 42’11.00 earned her the fifth-best jump in school history as well as an NCAA provisional qualifying mark.

Junior teammate Kristina Jones also set a personal best in the triple jump while freshman LaNeisha Waller earned a personal best in the long jump.

The team has this next weekend off in preparation for the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Feb. 26-27.

“This meet was good preparation for the Big Ten meet,” Winckler said. “So now we’ll finalize where we’ll put people for Big Tens and prepare for that.”

Hunt agrees.

“We ran really hard and we know that we can compete with anyone else in Big Ten,” Hunt said.