Track places 1st at Cougar Classic

By Rhema Rhea

Track and field showcased its talents during the first outdoor meet and took care of business at the eight-team Cougar Classic en route to its first meet title of the season over the weekend.

The Huskies’ win in Edwardsville marked the first time this season they claimed an overall meet title.

NIU accumulated 216 points, which was 125 points more than Bradley in second place. Meet host Southern Illinois University-Edwardsville hoisted the third place trophy, totaling 83 points.

NIU capitalized on having javelin in its field of events. In her first meet as a Huskie, freshman thrower Jasmine Wilson took advantage of the opportunity and placed fourth out of 11. She secured an automatic berth to the outdoor championships with a toss of 128-09.

“The athletes had a solid day of competition considering the cold temperatures,” said head coach Connie Teaberry, according to a news release. “They showed their ability to focus and compete regardless of the conditions. The most impressive was Jasmine Wilson’s MAC-qualifying throw in the javelin. We are sure to see more great efforts in the future.”

Wilson was the lone Huskie to punch a qualifying ticket for the MAC Outdoor Championships, but NIU had five athletes claim event titles during the Cougar Classic.

In the short sprinters, Latesha Bigby finished first out of 15 in the 100-meter hurdles with a 14.02. Three other Huskies finished in the top five, including freshman Claudette Day at third place with her 14.38 sprint.

Freshman sprinter A’Iesha Irvin-Muhammad continued her strong season, finishing in first place out of 17 in the 100 meters and running a 12.05. Second place was claimed by Bigby with a time of 12.17.

In the middle distance events, junior Julianne Cronin finished first out of 19 in the 400 meters with a 59.04 sprint. Her sister, Rebecca Cronin, finished second, timing in with a 58.87.

The duo switched roles in the 800 meters with Rebecca Cronin taking first place out of 20 with a 2:19.57. Julianne Cronin finished in sixth, crossing the finish in 2:25.86.

The final first-place finisher for the Huskies was junior Michaela Dwyer, who took honors in the high jump with a personal-best height of 5-03.00. Right behind Dwyer was Natalie Tarter with a mark of 5-01.00.

Day was the runner-up in the long jump event. The freshman took second in the long with an 11th-place 18-08.50 top jump.

In other field events, freshman Tyra Bickham and junior Sidra Sherrill finished the Cougar Classic with runner-up honors. Bickham tossed 44-05.25 in the shot put and Sherrill threw a 149-00 in the discus to claim second place out of the 10 participants.

The Huskies also had success in relays as they claimed runner-up finishes in both the 4×100 relay and the 4×400 relay. Senior Brittany Smith, Bigby, freshman Tahtyana Peer and Irvin-Muhammad teamed up to run 47.88 in the 4×100 relay. In the 4×400 relay, Irvin-Muhammad, Rebecca Cronin, Peer and Julianne Cronin crossed the line at 4:02.74.