Women's track and field look to keep improving at EIU

By Jacob Diaz

Tweet: #Illini @IlliniWTrack roll into nearby Charleston for the next meet of the outdoor season.

The Illini women’s track and field team’s third meet of the outdoor season, the Big Blue Classic, will take place this weekend in nearby Charleston, Illinois.

Hosted by Eastern Illinois, the meet will be the third in three weeks for the Illini, who are looking to build off their strong outdoor season.

The Illini hurdlers have been successful so far, with both freshman Jayla Stewart and junior Kortni Smyers-Jones getting top-five finishes in the 100 meter hurdles in both previous meets. This meet will not be as large as the other two, but the Illini will still face some tough competition.

“We’re always going to go hard at every meet, regardless of if it’s a small meet or a big meet,” Stewart said. “We have to keep the energy high and keep the competition high even if it is small. Going in to this meet, we definitely want to work on all the things we’ve gone over in practice.”

Both hurdlers said that their goal this season was to bring their time in the 100 meter hurdles down to 13 seconds. In their last competition, Stewart clocked in at 13.65 seconds and Smyers-Jones finished in 13.94 seconds. They are hoping that this weekend’s meet will be the next step on the road to 13 seconds.

Sophomore Janile Rogers has also done well so far, setting personal bests in two events – the 100 and 200 meter dash – in their first meet. She is hoping to build on her hot start this weekend in Charleston, with the eventual goal of setting more personal bests. Despite her optimism, Rogers knows that the key to continually improving lies in her training.

“In sprints I have been focusing on block starts and accelerations, because those have been my weaknesses,” she said. “And then in long jump I have been focusing on pushing off the back and getting my feet over my hips.”

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