Illinois returns to Champaign for Big Ten Outdoor Championships


Cameron Krasucki

Junior Connor Artman leaps into the air during the long jump event at the Fighting Illini Big Ten Relays April 23. The Illinois track and field team will host the Big Ten Outdoor Championships this Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Demirjian Park.

By Andre Thomas, Staff Writer

The Big Ten Outdoor Championships will take place Friday, Saturday and Sunday at Demirjian Park in Champaign, meaning the Illini will be back at home again after also having the Big Ten Relays at home. After traveling to Minnesota and Indiana on May 1, Illinois had a two-week break before meeting this weekend.

“The team has been working harder than we ever have,” said sophomore Jessica McDowell. “The amount of time we had to train over this two-week period was the right amount of time because we did not have to burn out all our energy, then recuperate. It was like our energy and intensity levels were steady.”

The year has been great for McDowell, as the Normal, Illinois native won two events and set personal records all season long. Her first win came at the M City Classic Tournament; she immediately followed that with a 400-meter win in the Fighting Illini B1G Relays. It looks like the women track & field team has been on a hot streak this year, winning multiple events and breaking schools records.

“We trained every single day to make sure that we are prepared for this weekend because this is the end goal, along with the NCAA Championships as well,” said sophomore Olivia Howell. “We have been working our butts the entire season for this moment.

Howell has won six events year in both outdoor and indoor events, which is the reason she has been breaking school records all year. Olivia won the 1500-meter in both the B1G Invite #3 and the M City Classic, bus she says she just started running the 1500-meter.

“Even though I just started back running the 1500-meter run, I am greatly confident about competing this weekend because I use that as my motivation,” Howell said. “ I know what type of competition is going to be there this weekend, which is why I am more excited to compete because it helps me get better as a runner.”



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