Women’s track on the rise

After competing outdoors in Orlando, Fla., the Illinois women’s track and field team was back to practicing indoors in the Armory during this week.

After competing outdoors in Orlando, Fla., the Illinois women’s track and field team was back to practicing indoors in the Armory during this week.

“It was good just to get away from the cold weather,” sophomore Cheria Morgan said. “As soon as we got off the plane (on Sunday) it was such a shock, so cold.

“Training indoors during outdoor season is not that good.”

Such is the transition from indoor to outdoor track for the Illini, who will continue to practice indoors as long as the weather demands before heading south to compete in meets.

“This is Illinois track, there’s nothing unfamiliar about it,” head coach Tonja Buford Bailey said.

The next stop for most of the women will be the prestigious Texas Relays in Austin, Texas. While the women will compete Friday through Saturday, the meet started Wednesday with multi-event competition.

“The Texas group is just kind of going to be another training meet for them to just do relays, so we won’t get a lot of … regional qualifiers or anything like that,” Buford-Bailey said.

Although there will be both relays and individual events, Buford-Bailey is not expecting top performances.

Those, she hopes, will come next week.

“We’re looking for our premier meet to be Arizona State,” Buford-Bailey said. “That’s where we want to lock down as many regional qualifiers as possible. That’s kind of how we’re looking at it, these are just kind of preparatory meets for that. We’re still kind of building up to it. It’s a long season, so you’ve got to pace yourself.”

Another small group of women will head to West Lafayette, Ind., for Purdue’s Mike Poehlein Invitational.

“For most of them, it’s their opener,” Buford-Bailey said. “And it’s going to be like 50 degrees, I think, so I don’t know what to expect from that.”