Track and Field
BARCELONA, Spain — Illinois sprinter Ashley Spencer moved one step closer Thursday in her bid to win a title at track and field's World Junior Championships.
The Illini sophomore-to-be ran the second-fastest time in the semifinals of the women's 400 meters to easily advance to today's finals.
Gavin Kennedy has joined a new coaching staff at Mississippi, leaving the University of Illinois after one season as men's cross-country head coach and assistant track coach.
Kennedy's departure means the Illini men's program will have its third different distance-running coach in as many years when school begins next month.
KINGSTON, Jamaica — Andrew Riley has never run a faster race in the 110-meter hurdles than he did Saturday night.
It wasn't quite fast enough to give the former Illini a victory in the finals at the Jamaican National Championships. It was plenty fast, however, to send Riley to his first Olympics.
CALGARY, Alberta — Former Illinois hurdler Nikkita Holder is headed to the Olympics. The misfortune of another former Illini paved the way for that development Saturday.
Perdita Felicien, a two-time Olympian seeking to return to the Games for the first time since 2004, committed a false start in the finals of the 100-meter hurdles at Canada's Olympic Track and Field Trials.
— Mike Small qualified for golf's prestigious PGA Championship (Kiawah Island, S.C., Aug. 9-12) by finishing fourth Wednesday in the PGA Professional event in Seaside, Calif. He plays in several tour events every summer.
— Janet Rayfield spent three weeks last summer scouting soccer opponents for the U.S. National team in the 2011 World Cup in Germany.
CHAMPAIGN — Former Illini Andrew Riley was named a finalist for the Bowerman Award, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced Friday.
The award is given annually to the nation's most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes.
EUGENE, Ore. — Gia Lewis-Smallwood is headed to London this summer.
"I have not been there," the Centennial graduate said Sunday. "I've been a lot of places, but I am very excited to go."
Twenty-one years ago, Illinois track and field standout Aaron Mobarak won first-team Academic All-America honors. His 3.9-plus grade-point average and back-to-back Big Ten titles in the triple jump earned him honors in this club of overachievers.
Upon the conclusion of his academic career at Illinois, Mobarak secured a master's degree in business administration from Harvard.
EUGENE, Ore. — Centennial product Gia Lewis-Smallwood, an Illinois grad, qualified for Sunday's discus finals at the U.S. Olympic trials, throwing 188 feet, 11 inches Friday.
Lewis-Smallwood had the sixth-best toss in the prelims. Stephanie Brown Trafton was first at 206-1.
CHAMPAIGN — Illinois freshman Ashley Spencer was selected as one of 10 semifinalists for the female Bowerman Award, the U.S. Track & Field and Cross Country Coaches Association announced Tuesday.
The award is presented annually to the nation's most outstanding male and female collegiate track and field athletes.