Women’s track triumphs at home

By Chris Cook

A week after they won the Illinois Invitational, the Illini women’s track and field team was back home for the Carle Health Alliance Classic on Saturday at the Armory. Once again, the Illini dominated at home as the team won decisively with a total of 192 points. Missouri Baptist finished second with 68 points.

Head Coach Gary Winckler was pleased with his team’s showing.

“I think we had a good meet,” he said. “We had a great cross the board performance. I really can’t sing the praise of anyone in particular except maybe Yvonne Mensah.”

As she did at the Illinois Invitational, junior Yvonne Mensah played a major part in securing her team the victory. Displaying great athleticism and versatility, Mensah won the 60-meter dash and the triple jump while finishing second in the 200-meter dash.

“Nothing went backwards so I have to be satisfied,” Mensah said.

She did, however, point out that she still has a way to go.

“There are still a lot of things I want to accomplish for the Big Ten,” she said. “I definitely want to run faster in the 60-meter and I could have jumped further.”

She finished with a time of 7.41 in the 60-meter dash, provisionally qualifying her for the NCAA Championships. Sophomore Tiara Armstrong finished third with a time of 7.67.

In the 200-meter dash, Mensah’s time of 24.15 was again good enough to provisionally qualify and the fastest of four Illini in the top five. Armstrong, freshman Omoye Ugiagbe and junior Camile Robinson finished third, fourth and fifth with times of 25.14, 25.28 and 26.36, respectively.

Camile Robinson also won the 400-meter dash with 56.77, while her sister Carlene won the 600-meter with 1:32.14.

“I was very satisfied,” Camile Robinson said. “With results like this, I become more confident and I know I can go out there and win it.”

The triple jump competition saw the Illini taking the top three spots. Mensah, who participated in triple jump for the first time in her career, won and provisionally qualified with a jump of 13.21 meters. Senior Nina Henson and junior Kristina Jones took second and third with jumps of 12.57 and 12.23 meters, respectively.

Henson won and provisionally qualified in the long jump competition with 6.02 meters, while another great team effort came in the 60 meter hurdles where sophomores LaNeisha Waller and Tiffany Nesfield both had times of 8.60 atop of the standings. Waller, however, was credited with the victory due to a faster preliminary time. Sophomore Alondra Cooper finished fourth with 8.79.

Elsewhere, the distance squad and pole vaulting team also had good results. Junior Cassie Hunt and sophomore Maggie Carroll placed first and second in the mile with times of 4:46.26 and 4:55.85. Freshman Jamie Kuhl finished fourth with 5:07.72.

In pole vaulting sophomores Ashley Hanshaw and Samantha Scheidegger finished first and second with marks of 3.75 and 3.65 meters respectively.

Illinois now turns their focus towards next weekend’s Meyo Invitational in Indiana.

“The next two weeks it’s going to be tougher,” Winckler said. “We went out and accomplished what we wanted to accomplish this weekend and we’re just going to build on that for the future.”