CHAMPAIGN - The Northern Illinois track & field team produced several promising showings Saturday at the Illini Open in Champaign, led by Sidra Sherrill's first place finish in the shot put.
Along with Sherrill's win, the Huskies produced 13 top five finishes and numerous personal bests.
"The staff's expectation for this competition was strong efforts, relentless competitors and mental preparation," said NIU head coach Connie Teaberry. "The athletes accomplished those goals. We are far from the athletic shape we need to be, but with those characteristics, better times and marks are inevitable. The results are promising."
Sherrill, a sophomore from Fort Wayne, Ind., took top honors with a personal best toss of 45-08.00 (13.92m) - her second shot put PR in as many meets this year. She topped Illinois' Kristen Wilson by nearly six inches and Saint Louis' Hannah Kuenzel by almost three feet.
The field events also featured strong performances from Ellen Renk and Alex Schad. Renk, a freshman from LaSalle, Ill., took second place in the triple jump with a 37-02.25 (11.33m) leap and claimed fourth in the long jump at 16-11.25 (5.16m). Schad, her counterpart from Milwaukee, Wis., was fourth in the triple jump with a 35-01.25 (10.70m) mark, but bested her teammate in the long jump by hitting 17-00.50 (5.19m) to earn third place.
To cap it off in the field, Ida Burbulla took second place in the high jump, as the freshman from Germany reached a height of 5-03.00 (1.60m). Michaela Dwyer got into the top five in the same event with a PR mark of 4-11.00 (1.50m).
Though there were no first place finishes on the track, the Huskies still made plenty of noise. Senior Megan Gregory was the top performer in the sprints with a pair of finals appearances. Gregory placed fifth in the 60 hurdles with a 9.02 clip, while taking seventh in the 60 meters with a time of 8.02.
Several Huskie distance runners also made their season debut Saturday. NIU put three runners in the top five of the 600 meters, led by Julianne Cronin's third place finish at 1:41.29. Following her were Erica Miller, who took fourth at 1:42.94, and Lydia Mitchell, who was fifth at 1:43.43.
In the mile, Jamie Burr crossed the finish line in fourth place at a time of 5:15.30. Hannah Savage rounded out the top five with a 5:15.67 clip. In that same race, veterans Claire McAuley, Katie Janssen and Alexis Capps all set personal best times.
The Huskies get back to the track next Friday and Saturday, Jan. 18-19, when they head to the Land of 10,000 Lakes for Minnesota's Jack Johnson Classic.