Illinois track & field to face tough competition at PNC Lenny Lyles Invitational in Louisville


Sydney Laput

Freshman Illinois track and field Tacoria Humphrey leaps over the bar during high jump at the Illini Invitational on Saturday. The Illini will be on the road this weekend for the Lenny Lyles Invitational.

By Ben Fader, Contributing Writer

After a successful meet at home, the Illini will head back on the road to Louisville for the PNC Lenny Lyles Invitational Saturday.

This will be an excellent test for Illinois, with Louisville, Butler, Notre Dame, Missouri, Vanderbilt, Memphis and more competing.

One Illini to keep your eye on this weekend is sophomore Kenli Nettles. Nettles has overcome injuries early in her career and is grateful to be back contributing early this indoor season.

“It’s been literally almost two years since I have been out here, so it was amazing competing again,” Nettles said.

She now looks to build off winning the pentathlon in the Illini Invitational and “getting a little bit better every single day” post-injury. To get better every day means taking practice very seriously, especially for an athlete like Nettles, who participates in multiple events.

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“I lift weights on Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays and do my workouts on the other days,” Nettles said. “It’s important to space your workouts out so you are not continuously working on the same things.”

Freshman Tacoria Humphrey is another name to look out for. The freshman has already been impactful early in the season.

“I like college a lot so far because there is a lot more competition,” Humphrey said. “In high school, there weren’t a lot of people at my rank, so now I get to compete more and it’s more fun.”

There will be even more competition for the freshman this weekend at the biggest meet the Illini have participated in so far, but Humphrey is ready.

“My mindset going in is I got this, I can do it, I’ve been practicing for this,” Humphrey said.

To pick up a personal record on Saturday will be challenging, but Humphrey has set it as her goal and is determined to improve every week.

In such a big meet, there are plenty of good athletes to look out for from other teams as well. Louisville has a great duo of redshirt sophomores Trey Allen and Jeremiah Willis.

The two have placed first at both meets this year in the high jump and long jump, respectively, and will look to continue their dominance this weekend.

The Memphis Tigers also bring competition for the Illini with the No. 10-ranked women’s weight thrower in the NCAA.

DeeNia McMiller reached 21.70m in the Vanderbilt Invitational, which led to her top-10 ranking, and she is participating in the meet this weekend.

Finally, Notre Dame brings the second-fastest male mile-runner in the country to Louisville, with Yared Nuguse running the mile in 3:54 last weekend and subsequently earning ACC Track & Field Performer of the Week honors.

The competition will be stiff this weekend, but the Illini are coming off a great weekend ready to get better. Live results can be found at



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