Track smashes records

By Rhema Rhea

In its busiest and most competitive weekend this season, track and field put up solid marks — including record-breaking performances — across the board.

Athletes were spread out Tuesday to Saturday between three meets: the Hillsdale Gina Relays in Hillsdale, Mich., the Lions Invitational in Ewing, N.J., and the historic 120th annual Penn Relays in Philadelphia. According to, more than 22,000 high school, world and collegiate athletes from around the world traveled to the University of Pennsylvania’s Franklin Field for the relays.

The record-breaking season for the Huskies continued with two more records falling, though 14 teams at the Penn Relays were ranked in the top 25 nationally.

Saturday was highlighted by the Huskies’ 4×800 meters relay team beating the program record by more than 20 seconds with a time of 8:59.15. The relay team, made up of sophomore Ali Olson (2:12.59), junior Meghan Heuer (2:13.71), junior Jamie Burr (2:19.02) and junior Julianne Cronin (2:13.83), took eighth place out of the 29-team field in the event. NIU competed in the first of two heats from the event, being grouped in the Women’s Championship of America.

“We had another solid day of competition between the Penn Relays and Lions Invitational,” said head coach Connie Teaberry, according to a news release. “This was definitely a good week of track and field by the athletes. With the athletes setting school and personal records and earning medals, you know they left it all on the track. Each week, the staff begins to see their improvements, and we are definitely heading in the right direction.”

On Friday, another school record fell when the quartet of Olson (3:35.92), Julie Cronin (56.03), Rebecca Cronin (2:14.83) and Heuer (4:49.76), competed in the distance medley relay and notched a second-out-of-19 finish in the college women’s heat. The Huskies beat the two-year-old record by 10 seconds.

In the field events, freshman Tyra Bickham had a MAC-qualifying day in the throws. The freshman set a personal record in the discus with a toss of 154-07, beating Penn State’s duo of Rachel Fatherly and Melissa Kurzdorfer en route to a seventh-place finish out of 32 in the college women’s discus throw.

In Ewing, N.J., during the Lions Invitational Saturday, the Huskies claimed five event titles. Junior Sidra Sherrill earned a Mid-American Conference automatic bid in the discus with a career-best throw of 159-10.