Bloch-Jones ties for 14th at nationals
Albuquerque, N.M. — Illinois freshman Kandie Bloch-Jones tied for 14th in the women’s high jump and earned second-team All-America honors Saturday at the NCAA Indoor Track and Field Championships.
The Argenta-Oreana graduate cleared 5 feet, 10 inches, tying her third-best mark of the season. Bloch-Jones won the Big Ten title with a leap of 5-103/4 and had a season-best height of 5-111/2.
“Kandie represented our program and the University of Illinois well,” Illini coach Ron Garner said. “She’s had an outstanding indoor season and start to her freshman year.
“She’s somewhat disappointed about today and believes that she could have done better. As a coaching staff, we want her to have high standards. This NCAA Championship has been a very positive experience. Her consistency is excellent and she’s been jumping with the best jumpers in the Big Ten and the NCAA. She will continue to get better.”
Georgia’s Leontia Kallenou, the only other freshman in the 16-athlete field, earned the national title with a mark of 6-11/2.
Salukis sweep Illini. A ninth-inning rally by the Illini fell short and Southern Illinois held on for a 3-2 victory to complete a doubleheader sweep at Carbondale.
Trailing 3-0 entering the ninth, Illinois cut the deficit on a sacrifice fly by Ryan Nagle and a two-out RBI single by Ryne Roper. With the bases loaded, SIU ended it when reliever Kyle Pruemer retired Will Krug (2 for 5) on a fielder’s choice groundout.
In the opener, the Illini led 5-3 after three innings but were shut out thereafter as the Salukis rallied to a 6-5 victory. Casey Fletcher, Nagle and Jason Goldstein each had two hits and combined for four RBI for Illinois (7-9).
Illini salvage split. Illinois bounced back from a first-game collapse and defeated Nebraska-Omaha 6-1 to finish the day 1-1 in the Fighting Illini Invitational at Eichelberger Field.
Freshman right-hander Brandi Needham limited Omaha to three hits and threw shutout ball during the final six innings. Katie Repole drove in two runs and Alex Booker had two of the Illini’s six hits.
Earlier, Illinois took a 4-1 lead into the top of the seventh inning but couldn’t stop a six-run outburst by North Dakota State in a 7-4 loss. UI starter Shelese Arnold and Needham allowed a combined five hits, including two home runs, and hit two batters in the seventh.
In women’s gymnastics:
Illini second in Quad. The No. 14 Illini finished second in the Big Ten Quad Meet at East Lansing, Mich., earning a spot in the evening session at next Saturday’s conference championships. No. 9 Nebraska won with a 197.050 score, while Illinois totaled 196.875.
The Illini scored a 49.350 on vault, the third-highest score in program history. UI teammates Erin Buchanan and Amber See finished in a three-way tie for first in the event with 9.9s.
UI junior Sunny Kato tied her career high of 9.9 on uneven parallel bars while placing second.
In men’s gymnastics:
Iowa outscores Illinois. The No. 6 Illini won two individual events and the all-around while finishing second in a five-team meet at Lincoln, Neb. Illinois scored a 434.850 to trail No. 9 Iowa’s 437.250.
Illini freshman Matthew Foster placed first in pommel horse at 14.950. UI senior Jordan Valdez captured the parallel bars with a career-high 15.300 score. C.J. Maestas won the all-around title with a score of 87.900.
In women’s golf:
Postillion second. Redshirt junior Samantha Postillion placed second for her best career finish, leading the Illini to seventh place in the 14-team Lady Jaguar Intercollegiate at Augusta, Ga.
Postillion opened the day by tying her career-low round with a 1-under-par 71, then shot a 77 for a 54-hole total of 221. She finished 4 strokes behind Lacey Fears of Mercer.
Illinois carded a 300 in the morning before falling back with a 317 for a 928 total.