Illini women’s track prepares for Notre Dame Meyo Invitational

By Alex Wallner

Coming off a week-long layoff, the Illinois women’s track and field team is preparing for the annual Meyo Invitational, hosted by Notre Dame this weekend.

The level of competition is not as high as it was in the Illini’s previous meet, but the Meyo Invitational tends to draw top-25 teams.

Last year included now-No. 21 Michigan and No. 25 Michigan State and another Big Ten foe, Purdue.

It also was a good one for senior Alyssa Schneider, who won the 5,000 meter run, beating 30 other individuals in the process.

Schneider won the event with a time of 16 minutes, 35 seconds, edging out Notre Dame’s Molly Seidel, who finished just one second later.

Schneider said this meet is one that will not only help the team, but help everyone individually as well.

“This is a good meet, so it’s a really good opportunity for everyone to get in a good race,” Schneider said. “I want to run up to my potential right now in the mile, which hopefully means a new PR (personal record).”

This will not be easy though; Schneider added that everyone running with her will be aiming for the same thing she is aiming for.

“I know that the girls in my heat are going to run fast,” Schneider said. “If I follow their lead, it’s going to be a very good race for me.”

A full week off from competition has the Illini rested and ready to go according to distance coach Scott Jones.

“When we got back from Kentucky, we wanted to really get back into our training,” Jones said. “We got back to doing some fundamental-type training, so we did two good workouts on Monday and Friday (of last week) and this week, we’re lightening up a little bit because we want to be in a position to race well this Friday and Saturday.”

This weekend is the first of a four-week stretch of meets heading into late February, which concludes with the Indoor Big Ten Championships.

This is a stretch where senior Stephanie Richartz wants to perform her best as she aims for the Indoor Big Ten Championship, something she has been preparing for all season.

“This weekend, the object is to get a little better than I was last week,” Richartz said. “As long as there’s a progression and improvement every week then great things will continue to come my way and prepare me for the upcoming large meets, like the Big Ten Indoor Championships and the national meet.”

The Meyo Invitational is what Jones says is the “build-up” to the Big Ten Championships. He added that last year’s meet was a “mixed bag” for the team in performance, but was incredibly important for the team from a developmental point of view.

“It’s not just where you are, it’s where you’re going and learning from these experiences against the top competition,” Jones said.

Alex can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter

@AWallner93.