Craddock, Sudduth headline weekend two for Illinois track & field

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Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Distance runner and redshirt senior Rebecca Craddock attempts to take the lead on May 25, 2018 during the NCAA West Prelims. Craddock achieved second-best in the program for the women’s 5000m during the Stanford invite on Friday.

By Ben Fader, Staff Writer

This weekend saw Illinois track & field split up, sending the distance squad out west to Stanford, California and some of the other athletes to Normal, Illinois.

It was a couple of warm, sunny days at the Stanford Invite with a couple of personal bests for the Illini.

On Friday, redshirt senior Rebecca Craddock ran the second-best women’s 5000m in program history with a time of 16:11 and got the team off to a great start in California. Senior Emma Milburn also ran the 5000m and recorded a personal best with a time of 16:26.

Back in Illinois, the weather was not ideal for runners to put up record-breaking times, but experience in the conditions could prove valuable later in the season. Indoor second-team All-American junior Tyler Sudduth continued to get adjusted to the outdoor competition.

Sudduth won the men’s shot put in the Redbird Invite with a throw of 18.78m and has looked impressive so far this season.

“It’s good to see all the hard work pay off,” Sudduth said.

Finishing last season with a personal record throw of 18m, Sudduth “expected to see improvement” this year, but not to this extent.

“It’s surprising to me to be in this moment right now,” Sudduth said of how far he has come since his sophomore season.

Freshman Tori Thomas followed with a first-place finish in women’s pole vault after recording the Illini’s final personal best of the weekend with a 4.15m finish. Senior Jaden Jackson won the men’s 400m hurdles with a time of 54.61 and will look to carry his momentum into next weekend.

The Illini also had a few second-place finishes this weekend from freshman Collin Kao (men’s pole vault), redshirt junior Brian Keyes (men’s discus throw), senior Kionnah Weaver (women’s 400m hurdles) and junior Eddie Lennon (men’s 1500).

Freshman CJ Shoaf managed to qualify for the finals in the men’s 110m hurdles and ultimately finished third with a time of 15.00.

Overall, a solid weekend for Illinois. Despite being in multiple different places, the athletes were able to gain experience and record some personal bests, which will help the team as the season goes on.

Illinois will now return home to host the Illini Classic at Demirjian Park on April 8 and 9. The classic will also be a return to action for the indoor All-Americans and the first time the entire team competes outdoors this season.

 

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