Akinosun, Spencer sizzle
DES MOINES, Iowa — Running a career-best time in the women’s 200 meters Friday didn’t give Morolake Akinosun a second title at the USA Junior Track and Field Championships.
It did, however, ensure that the Illinois freshman will be doubly busy during the Pan American Junior Championships later this summer in South America.
One day after winning the 100, Akinosun placed second in the 200 in 23.18 seconds. The performance qualified her for a second event at the Pan Am Juniors Aug. 23-25 at Medellin, Colombia.
“It was another great day for Morolake,” Illinois coach Tonja Buford-Bailey said. “A personal best this time of year is exactly what she has worked so hard this season for.”
Akinosun’s time in the 200 was the fifth fastest in the history of Illini women’s track and field. She finished behind Ana Holland, a recent graduate of Regis Jesuit High School in Aurora, Colo. The 2013 Gatorade Colorado Girls’ Track and Field Athlete of the Year won in 23.04.
Illini freshman Juan Paul Green advanced to the finals of the men’s junior 400 with the fastest time in the preliminaries: 46.59.
Ashley Spencer, the two-time defending NCAA champion in the 400, secured her spot in the finals of the women’s senior 400. The sophomore posted the third-fastest time (50.77) of Friday’s semifinals and is the only collegian who will run in the eight-woman final Saturday.
“Ashley ran a fantastic race,” Buford-Bailey said. “She was very composed against the nation’s elite to run one of the fastest times in her career.”
Illinois senior Cameron Viney competed in the 400 men’s senior hurdles but did not qualify for today’s finals after clocking in at 51.16.
Freshman Will Brewster placed 16th in the finals of the men’s junior 10,000-meter race with a time of 33 minutes, 49.71 seconds.