Track and Field

Track and Field

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.

Keeping track

We asked staff writer Jeff Huth for five things to keep an eye on during the Big Ten men's and women's track and field meets, which begin Friday at the University of Illinois Track and Soccer Complex

Track suffering sad decline among fans

CHAMPAIGN – The revelation, such as it was, came with no fanfare and arrived to a nation's collective yawn. Many people, in fact, aren't even aware yet.

Sports Illustrated's Tim Layden reported in late April that the International Olympic Committee, under pressure from NBC, has elected to conduct swimming and gymnastics in the morning hours in Beijing in the upcoming Olympics, meaning they'll be televised live in prime time in the United States. Track and field – for so long the Olympics' spotlight sport – will be in prime time in Beijing, leading to tape-delayed coverage for American viewers.

Evans shares league honor

PARK RIDGE – Aja Evans, who broke a 12-year-old Illinois record in the shot put, was named Big Ten Women's Co-Field Athlete of the Week on Tuesday.

The Illini sophomore threw the shot 55 feet, 8 1/4 inches April 30 during the Illinois Twilight Meet at the Illinois Track and Soccer Stadium. The previous school record of 53-1 was set by Collinus Newsome in 1996.

Evans leads outdoor parade

CHAMPAIGN – Sophomore Aja Evans and her Illinois track and field teammates tuned up for the Big Ten Outdoor Championships with strong performances Wednesday night at the Illinois Twilight meet.

Evans set an outdoor school record in the shot put, going 55 feet, 8¼ inches. That broke Collinus Newsome's mark of 53-1 in 1996.

St. Joe board readies for construction after graduation

ST. JOSEPH – Hoping for construction work to rev up over the summer once students are out of the classrooms, members of the St. Joseph-Ogden High School board this week approved several measures to help set things in place for the days immediately following the school's graduation ceremony.

According to a report from Jason Brewer of the school district's construction management firm, Felmley-Dickerson in Peoria, the whole of the new athletic facilities are enclosed and workers have painted and drywalled the locker rooms.

Top honors for Leman, McDonnell

CHAMPAIGN – Linebacker J Leman and soccer standout Mary Therese McDonnell were awarded the Big Ten Medal of Honor at the school's awards banquet Tuesday night.

Leman, a Champaign Central product who signed a free agent contract with the Minnesota Vikings on Sunday night, was a consensus All-American and All-Big Ten first-teamer.

Illini get another shot at tennis title

IOWA CITY, Iowa – Illinois and Ohio State, the Big Ten's dominant men's tennis programs, will duke it out for another league tournament title today.

The 15th-ranked Illini advanced with a 4-1 win against Wisconsin in Saturday's semifinals. The two-time defending champion Buckeyes, ranked second nationally, topped Michigan 4-1.

Minor a major contributor

WEST LAFAYETTE, Ind. – Illinois' bid to make the NCAA women's tennis tournament received a boost with Friday's 4-3 upset of No. 34 Ohio State in the first round of the Big Ten tournament.

The 43rd-ranked Illini, behind another clutch effort by Kristina Minor, rallied to reach the semifinals for the first time since 2003. They'll play top-ranked Northwestern today.

Buckley nabs national honor

ATHENS, Ga. – Illinois freshman gymnast Allison Buckley became Illinois' first NCAA All-American by tying for sixth place on the balance beam Thursday at the national championships.

Buckley, the Big Ten Freshman of the Year, tallied a 9.825 on the beam to earn the honor.