NCAAs next for women's gymnasts

By The News-Gazette

MORGANTOWN, W.Va. — A dominant performance by Alina Weinstein on Saturday night propelled the Illinois women’s gymnastics team to its third NCAA Championships appearance in program history.

Akinosun nearly sets school mark in 100

AUSTIN, Texas — Freshman Morolake Akinosun ran the second-fastest 100 meters in the history of Illinois women’s track and field Saturday at the Texas Relays.

The former state champion from Waubonsie Valley placed sixth in 11.29 seconds. The UI record of 11.28 was set by Aspen Burkett in 1998.

Johnson blanks Oakland

CHAMPAIGN — Senior Kevin Johnson made quick work of Oakland in Illinois’ 4-0 nonconference baseball victory Friday at Illinois Field.

Johnson needed 79 pitches to post his third career complete-game shutout in a contest that took 1 hour, 43 minutes, the UI’s shortest game of the season.

Points rides putter to top of tourney

HUMBLE, Texas — The putter D.A. Points once took from his mother paid off nicely for him Thursday in the Houston Open.

Points, a former Illini, opened with five straight birdies and wound up with an 8-under-par 64 on a pleasant morning with only moderate wind at Redstone Golf Club. He had a 1-shot lead over Cameron Tringale and John Rollins.

Spencer honored by conference

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois sophomore Ashley Spencer was named Big Ten Track Athlete of the Week after claiming the 100 meters and placing second in the 400 hurdles at the Texas State Elite Meet, the league office announced Wednesday.

Spencer third in 400 at nationals

FAYETTEVILLE, Ark. — Ashley Spencer ran the fastest indoor 400 meters in the history of Illinois women’s track and field Saturday night, but it wasn’t enough for the defending outdoor champion to claim another NCAA title.

In fact, it wasn’t fast enough to finish in the top two.

Buford-Bailey rates award

CHAMPAIGN — Illinois’ Tonja Buford-Bailey was named the United States Track and Field/Cross Country Coaches’ Association’s Midwest Region Head Women’s Coach of the Year on Monday.

“It’s great to receive this honor,” Buford-Bailey said. “It makes me feel even better knowing that I received this award because my peers voted for me. I’m really honored.”

Distance medley sets record

SOUTH BEND, Ind. — Illinois’ Kyle Engnell, Stephon Pamilton, Ryan Lynn and Graham Morris broke an 18-year-old school record in the distance medley relay, finishing sixth overall in 9 minutes, 29.40 seconds Friday at the Alex Wilson Last Chance meet.

The previous record (9:36.33) was set in 1995 by Eric Henson, Ben Beyers, Chris Saunders and Marko Koers.

Bailey, Spencer, Akinosun honored

Illinois, which won its first Big Ten indoor women's track title since 1996, was recognized by the Big Ten today.

Tonja Buford-Bailey (Coach of the Year), Ashley Spencer (Athlete of the Year/Athlete of the Championships) and Morolake Akinosun (Freshman of the Year) took home major awards.


Women's track team claims Big Ten title

GENEVA, Ohio — Illinois coach Tonja Buford-Bailey first heard the chatter after her team finished second at last May’s Big Ten outdoor meet.

“They said second place was not good enough, that they only wanted to win,” Buford-Bailey said. “They’ve been talking a long time. This new generation likes to talk a lot, likes to get on Twitter and say what they’re going to do.