Women start fast at meet
EAST LANSING, Mich. – Collinus Newsome's repeat as conference shot put champion and strong showings by several University of Illinois sprinters helped propel the women to fourth place in the team standings after the first day of the Big Ten Indoor Championships on Saturday.
Newsome, who threw the shot 50 feet, 5 1/4 inches, provisionally qualified for the NCAA Indoor Championships. Her best toss this season is 51-9.
In the 55-meter dash, the Illini earned three of the top four spots for today's final. Aleisha Latimer led the way in 6.88 seconds, Benita Kelley clocked 6.96 and Aspen Burkett registered 7.02.
In the 800 meters, Candace Nicholson won her preliminary heat with the top time of 2 minutes, 11.71 seconds.
Latimer, Kelley, Burkett and Lyria Martin also sparkled in the 200 meters. Latimer, Kelley and Burkett won their preliminary heats in 24.53, 24.55 and 24.77, respectively.
Yvonne Harrison turned in the second-fastest time (55.74) and won her heat in the 400 meters. Harrison, whose 400 time was a personal best and seasonal best for the Illini, also was fastest in the 55-meter hurdles, finishing in 7.85.
In the 600, Tara Mendozza posted the second-best time, winning her heat in 1:33.65.
Tisha Ponder, defending indoor champion in the long jump, placed second at 19-4 3/4.
Michigan leads the team standings with 42 points. Illinois has 24.