Track and Field

Track and Field

UI soph in the hunt for national title in her specialty event

CHAMPAIGN – Before arriving on Illinois'' campus, Cassie Hunt was no stranger to multitasking sports.

As a high school senior, the Roachdale, Ind., native won a bronze medal in the Summer Biathlon Junior World Championships – an eclectic event that mixes distance running with rifle marksmanship.

Who''s that Illini?

I was a two-time NCAA champion in track and field, winning national titles in the 800 meters in 1959 and ''60. I won seven Big Ten crowns, including three in the 800, two in the 400 and a couple as a member of first-place 1,600 relay teams. My school record in the 400, set in 1960, lasted for 28 years. I was an Olympian in 1960 and ''64, earning bronze medals during my first appearance in the Games in the 800 meters and 1,600 relay.

Hunt at front of qualifiers

BLOOMINGTON, Ind. – Seven Illini track and field athletes advanced to the NCAA Championships at the Mid East Regional on Saturday.

Big Ten champion Cassie Hunt led four UI women who moved on. Hunt won the 3,000-meter steeplechase in a personal-best 10 minutes, 7.29 seconds.

Pickett hoping to click at regional meet

CHAMPAIGN – Shanna Pickett knows she has at least two days left in her track career. She would like to add four more.

On Friday and Saturday in Bloomington, Ind., the Illinois senior will try to extend her season. Pickett and the Illini compete in the NCAA Mid East Regional, which serves as the qualifier for the June 8-11 NCAA Championships at Sacramento, Calif.

Who''s that Illini?

A product of Mount Pulaski High, I was awarded the Dike Eddleman Female Athlete of the Year award in 1994. I finished my volleyball career in the fall of ''93 as a two-time All-Big Ten honoree. In 1992, I earned second-team All-America honors by the AVCA. I still own the school mark for kills in a three-game match with 32 (answer below).

Who''s that Illini?

I graduated in 1996 as one of the women''s track team''s all-time greats. I participated on four Big Ten championship teams and two top-five finishes nationally. My best events were the 100-meter hurdles and the triple jump. I was a six-time individual Big Ten champion and a six-time All-American.

I graduated in 1996 as one of the women''s track team''s all-time greats. I participated on four Big Ten championship teams and two top-five finishes nationally. My best events were the 100-meter hurdles and the triple jump. I was a six-time individual Big Ten champion and a six-time All-American.

Dawn Riley

Coach making change

CHAMPAIGN – Paul Pilkington, who coached Illinois men''s distance runners for two seasons, will leave that position after the NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships next month.

Pilkington notified Illini head coach Wayne Angel of his decision last week.

Coach takes latest award in stride

CHAMPAIGN – As his is custom, Gary Winckler greeted Wednesday''s news that he was named Big Ten Coach of the Year with a shrug.

"It''s going in the box I have at home, the one with all my other Coach of the Year trophies," Winckler said. "I even have a national award in there somewhere. I don''t look at them much."

Illinois women more than in the Hunt

COLUMBUS, Ohio – Cassie Hunt won the 5,000 meters Sunday – her second individual title in the Big Ten championships – as the Illinois women''s track and field team captured its fifth league title.

"I looked at today like a whole different day," said Hunt, who finished in 16 minutes, 29.08 seconds to follow up on Saturday''s steeplechase win. "I didn''t have to run in two races in the same day, so I felt pretty good and fresh.

Who''s that Illini?

A native of Jamaica, I''ve been called that country''s "father of track and field" for my contributions in coaching and promotion of the sport. On the track , I was a supreme quarter-miler and sprinter. After starting my college career at Boston College, I transferred to Illinois and won four NCAA titles in 1946 and ''47. I went on to Olympic fame, winning one gold medal and three silvers in the 1948 and 1952 Games. In the latter, my blazing leg on Jamaica''s gold-medaling winning 1,600-meter relay has become legendary.