Illinois women’s track and field to compete in Tiger Track Classic

The Illinois women’s track and field team will travel to Auburn, Ala., this weekend to compete in the Tiger Track Classic, the team’s second meet of the outdoor season.

 

After receiving outstanding individual contributions from various members of the team last weekend at the Arizona State Invitational, the Illini hope to put together more of a collective group performance this time.

 

However, the Orange and Blue will have to do so against a strong field of SEC teams, most of which are ranked in the top 25 in the country.

 

The Illini seem up to the challenge.

 

“When you go down south there is always good competition,” said senior sprinter Jesica Ejesieme. “We’re just looking to improve anywhere we can and these early meets are great to see where we are as a team.”

 

Ejesieme won two event titles in the 100-meter hurdles and 400 hurdles last weekend at the Arizona State Invitational and will be hoping to duplicate her performance at Auburn.

 

One athlete looking to get her outdoor season headed down the right track is senior sprinter Ahlivia Spencer. Spencer, who won an event title in the 400-meter dash at Big Ten Indoor Championships, believes right now working on technique is key for the team.

 

“This is really just a transition week for us,” Spencer said. “We’re just working on technical adjustments and fine-tuning the little things we need to get done.”

 

After finishing fourth out of five teams last weekend, the Orange and Blue plan to use this meet as a chance to get better collectively.

 

“Our goal as a team is to get better and better each week,” senior pole-vaulter Nicole DeMarais said. “That’s what our coaches emphasize, and each meet gives us a chance to do so.”

 

Sophomore pole vaulter Jennifer DeBellis, along with freshman high jumper Kandie Bloch-Jones, figure to lead the way for the Illini in the field events. DeBellis finished in second place in the Arizona State meet.

 

Bloch-Jones, a conference champion and second-team All-American, will be tested for the first time since nationals when she goes up against a strong field this weekend.

 

The competition at the Tiger Track Classic will help the Illini see where they stack up among some of the nation’s best. It will be a challenge, but one the team embraces.

 

Mubarak can be reached at [email protected] or @justmubar.