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.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Andrew Riley wasn't nearly at his fastest. A headwind of 3.5 mph undoubtedly had something to do with that.
Still, the greatest hurdler in University of Illinois men's track and field history was fast enough Saturday at Drake Stadium to complete a historic feat.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Very few, if any, of the thousands of spectators on hand at the NCAA Track and Field Championships at Drake Stadium could identify who won the men's 100-meter final.
Illinois' Andrew Riley knew.
DES MOINES, Iowa — Freshman Ashley Spencer celebrated her 19th birthday by becoming the second Illinois national champion Friday, winning the women's 400 in 50.95 seconds, the fastest time in the country this season.