Nwoko leads Illinois to 11th-place finish at Big Ten Indoor Championships

Senior+Chisom+Nwoko+runs+at+the+Big+Ten+Indoor+Championships+at+the+SPIRE+Institute+during+the+weekend+of+Feb.+29.+

Photo Courtesy of Illini Athletics

Senior Chisom Nwoko runs at the Big Ten Indoor Championships at the SPIRE Institute during the weekend of Feb. 29.

By Meghan Rest, Sports Editor

Senior sprinter Chisom Nwoko earned one of two Illinois top-five accolades at the Big Ten Indoor Championships Friday and Saturday in Geneva, Ohio.

On Saturday, Nwoko finished second in the 400-meter dash with a season-best time of 53.51 seconds. Freshman Olivia Howell also finished fourth in the mile finals, crossing the line at 4:45.15, marking her season-best time in the event. In the mile preliminaries, Howell clocked the seventh-fastest time in program history for the event to earn a spot in the finals.

“We had a good meet with a lot of breakthrough performances,” said Mike Turk, Illinois men’s and women’s track and field head coach, per fightingillini.com. “Some show on the scoreboard, which is important, but some are indicative of our youth growth and where we are headed as a program.”

Eight Illini scored in four more events at the Big Ten Indoor finals, including the distance medley relay composed of redshirt-sophomore Rebecca Craddock, freshman Danni Stoughton, junior Mikaela Luki and senior Grace Rogers, which earned a sixth-place finish with a time of 11:24.80. Senior pole vaulter Carolyn Nye also leaped to a sixth-place finish, clearing 4.05 meters.

Freshman Tracy Towns scored one point in the 800-meter dash with a time of 2:08.21, earning eighth place. Illinois’ 4×400-meter relay also earned eighth-place finish; the team of Nwoko, juniors Ololade Ayoola and Amira Aduma and Howell ran in with a time of 3:41.10.

Illinois scored 21 total points as a team, besting Maryland and Rutgers, which scored seven and six points, respectively, at the two-day conference meet, earning 11th place in a field of 13. Ohio State won the meet with 104 points overall.

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