Illini women’s track and field braces for Iowa State Classic

By Alex Wallner

With only three weeks until the Big Ten Indoor Championships, the momentum-filled and highly confident Illinois women’s track and field team will travel to Ames, Iowa, on Friday and Saturday to compete in the team’s first-ever trip to the Iowa State Classic.

The Illini are coming off a strong pair of performances at the Rod McCravy Memorial Meet and the Notre Dame Meyo Invite the past two weekends, and are looking to do the same this weekend against some of the nation’s top competition.

This weekend’s meet is highlighted by No. 2 Florida, No. 12 Texas Tech, No. 15 Oklahoma State, No. 18 Wisconsin and No. 20 Michigan, among others. Illinois will also be joined by three other Big Ten opponents: Iowa, Minnesota and Nebraska, bringing the total of Big Ten competitors to six.

With five ranked teams in the mix, sophomore Nicole Choquette said this weekend’s meet will be a fast one.

A meet with high-level teams has senior Breeana Coleman practicing with a different style in mind.

“My focus has been to work on the technical side of the 60-meter hurdles,” Coleman said. “And also working on speed as well as just trying to get out of the blocks really fast.”

With Big Tens just around the corner, associate head coach Randy Gillon said that this week’s practices were focused more on attention to detail and ultimately centered on his team’s weaknesses.

Gillon also said there will be enough time after the Iowa State meet to sharpen up some things before Big Tens, which begin Feb. 27.

But it starts with the Iowa State Classic and a chance to string together back-to-back strong meets. Gillon expects quality performances this weekend.

“We made some progress,” Gillon said. “Last weekend we had a lot of season bests and some personal records, which is good for progress and building a program, but for us to ultimately have a great effect at the Big Ten Championship meet, we need to see some more PRs and some greater improvement.”

Alex can be reached at [email protected] and on Twitter @AWallner93.