Howell, Davis, Sudduth to represent Illinois track & field at NCAA Indoor Championships


Photo courtesy of Illini Athletics

Runner Olivia Howell celebrates with her team after completing an event during the Big Ten Indoor Championship on Feb. 27. Howell is one of three to represent the Illini at NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday.

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

The 2022 indoor track and field season is almost over; but first, three Illini will compete in the NCAA Indoor Championships on Friday and Saturday.

Junior Olivia Howell, junior Tyler Sudduth and graduate student Jon Davis learned that they had qualified for the championship meet on March 1 after putting together strong performances in the Big Ten Championships.

Howell has been an absolute force all season long as the Big Ten women’s defending mile champion set all kinds of records everywhere she went.

Racing in many events, Howell is as dominant as they come as she now holds the Illinois school record for the women’s mile and has a top-eight time in the country so far this year.

The top-16 athletes in the country qualify for the championships in each event, so Howell comfortably earned her way into the bunch and will now look to better her time.

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Howell qualified with a time of 4:33, which is not a personal record, but fewer than three seconds behind the fastest time recorded this year. It may be a stretch, but Howell is capable of winning the event.

Davis will also participate in the mile event for the men. Coming to full strength late in the season, Davis is the fifth seeded male in the mile coming into the championships.

Every athlete in the event has run the mile in under four minutes this year, and only 4.57 seconds are separating the 16 competitors, meaning this will be a very tight race.

This weekend will be Davis’s final meet competing at the collegiate level, which may add extra motivation in a race where he could very reasonably place in the top three.

The final athlete competing for the Illini will not participate in the mile, as Sudduth qualified for the men’s shot put after an inspiring season.

Sudduth shattered his personal records from his sophomore year and narrowly qualified for the championships, as he is seeded 15th.

The Big Ten is deep in the shot put with five throwers in the top 16, but Sudduth earned his way here and will look to break his previous records and move up in the seeding.

Regardless of final results this weekend, these three student-athletes have had terrific performances all season long and deserve every bit of this opportunity.

Only juniors Sudduth and Howell will also be gaining quality experience at the highest level this weekend in preparation for returning to this stage in the spring season and next year.

The Meet will be broadcast on ESPN3 beginning at 10 a.m. on Friday and 10:30 a.m. on Saturday. The meet will also re-air on Sunday night at 8:30 p.m. on ESPNU.



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