Track and Field

Track and Field

Textin' with Klee

Staff writer Paul Klee might be the fastest text messager in the Midwest. FWIW, each Wednesday we'll utilize his GR8 skill to interview a text-savvy personality. THX to Illini pole vault star Andrew Zollner, who answered our ?'s via text after he cleared 17 feet, 1 inch to qualify for the NCAA Championships, which begin today in Des Moines:


Bizzarri ready to run down 5,000 competition at nationals

CHAMPAIGN – When Angela Bizzarri reported to practice one day last week with a large Band-Aid on her right hand, the Illinois sophomore had to expect some questions.

The answer was uncomplicated. She'd cut the hand during a careless moment while doing the dishes.

Cunningham, Adams added to national meet

CHAMPAIGN – Two members of the Illinois women's track and field team were added to the field for the NCAA Outdoor Championships on Tuesday as at-large selections.

Senior Briana Cunningham and sophomore Aja Evans will join four teammates at the national meet June 11-14 at Des Moines, Iowa.

Cunningham has sights set on qualifying for NCAAs

CHAMPAIGN – When Briana Cunningham took up the hurdles in middle school, the Illinois senior quickly realized she had found her track niche. Her track passion, too.

Years later, the enthusiasm remains apparent whenever the topic of conversation is her signature event.

Angel left feeling 'real disappointed'

CHAMPAIGN – The Illinois men's track and field team hoped its home turf would bring success to a season of little triumph. But the Illinois Soccer & Track Stadium provided little relief, as howling winds and injuries hampered the Illini at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships.

Illinois finished ninth with 59 points on Sunday, 70 points behind winner Michigan.

Cunningham grabs conference gold

CHAMPAIGN – Briana Cunningham found it hard to stand upright after she crossed the finish line in the 400-meter hurdles final at the Big Ten Outdoor Championships on Sunday.

The Illini senior stood with her hands on her knees, forcing a Big Ten Network reporter to crouch to meet Cunningham eye-to-eye for an interview.

Evans takes her best shot

CHAMPAIGN – Aja Evans has some famous relatives in the world of sports.

Her brother, Fred, is a defensive tackle for the Minnesota Vikings. Her cousin is Gary Matthews Jr., an outfielder for the Los Angeles Angels, and her uncle is Matthews' dad, who starred for several teams in the big leagues.

Woods glad she stayed

CHAMPAIGN – It had the potential to be a mini-disaster for Illinois freshman Danelle Woods.

The cross-country coach she committed to, Karen Harvey, had elected to leave Illinois to join the staff at Florida State. Suddenly, Woods – a cross-country and steeplechase standout in her native Canada – was headed to a school that didn't have anyone to coach its women's cross-country team and long distance runners in track.

Buford-Bailey's teaching skills carry over to the sports she loves

CHAMPAIGN – Days before Gary Winckler gave her a call in 2003, former Illini track star Tonja Buford-Bailey was enjoying life as a fourth-grade teacher in suburban Dallas.

Funny how one call can change the direction of your life.

UI's Shroka jumping at chance to clear 7 feet again

CHAMPAIGN – Greg Shroka had assured his parents there was no reason to make the two-hour drive from Cedar Lake, Ind.

No need, he said, to show up for his midweek track and field meet at the University of Illinois. Not when it promised to be little more than a dual meet against Lindenwood, an NAIA school out of St. Charles, Mo. Not when he would be high jumping against one – yes, one – other entrant.