Van Swol, Ridley race to titles

Van Swol, Ridley race to titles

Illinois junior Jason Van Swol made history in the 800 meters Sunday, and senior Babatunde Ridley made it a clean sweep in the 60 at the Big Ten men's track and field championships at State College, Pa.

Van Swol became the first athlete to win three straight Big Ten indoor 800 titles, setting a personal best and a league record of 1 minute, 48.76 seconds and topping Michigan State's Andy Lixey by 0.39 second.

UI teammate Nick Gow was fourth in a personal-best 1:49.52, helping the Illini to a sixth-place team finish.

Ridley, who won the preliminaries and the semifinals Saturday and set Illinois and meet records at 6.74 seconds, clocked 6.77 seconds Sunday. He beat Purdue's Jaques Reeves by 0.03.

Ridley also picked up points for the Illini with a fourth-place finish in the 200, clocking 21.25 seconds.

Illinois senior Sherman Armstrong was sixth in the 60 hurdles at 8.01, and junior Charles Burton rounded out the UI scoring with a fifth-place finish in the triple jump at 50 feet, 0 inches.

Felicien flies in women's track & field

UI freshman Perdita Felicien shattered her recent team record, finishing second in the 60 hurdles at 8 seconds flat in West Lafayette, Ind.

Weeks after setting the UI mark of 8.07 and a day after going a meet-record 8.12, Felicien lost by 0.02 second to rival Donica Merriman of Ohio State. The two now have the top two times in the nation.

"I think this race today speaks volumes of how competitive the Big Ten is in the hurdles," Felicien said. "It is a bittersweet feeling because I wanted to win the title. But I set a new personal best, and I can't ask any more from myself than that.

"Now I have to turn my focus to nationals, which are only two weeks away."

Sophomore Crystal Riley was sixth in the event, tying her personal best at 8.48. She also was seventh in the triple jump (38-10 1/2), helping the Illini to eighth place in the team standings.

Sophomore Chequetta Bearfield also scored in two events for the UI, placing fourth in the 200 (24.38) and seventh in the 60 (7.56).

Junior Camee Williams was fifth in the high jump (5-7), junior Jordana Meyer was sixth in the 600 (1:33.57), the 1,600 relay team was seventh (3:53.74) and sophomore Cecelia Williams was eighth in the 5,000 (17:24.47).

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