Track and field places third in Ball State Quadrangular

By Rhema Rhea

Track and field had one more chance for competition before next weekend’s MAC Indoor Championships when it traveled to Muncie, Ind., for the Ball State Quadrangular over the weekend.

NIU left with a 115.50-point, third-place finish, beating out Miami (Ohio). Western Michigan won the meet with 165 points, and host team Ball State took second.

The Huskies were highlighted by junior multi-events athlete Latesha Bigby, who was a part of a first-place finish in three events.

“Latesha qualified in two events this weekend,” said head coach Connie Teaberry. “It’s nice to have a student-athlete that can step up to the competition every week, and when they step up they improve. This weekend’s improvement ended up allowing Latesha to qualify for two events for MAC indoor conference.”

The Huskies added to their long list of indoor qualifiers when Bigby beat out teammate A’Iesha Irvin-Muhammad for first place out of 13 in the 60-meter dash with a time of 7.74 in the finals. Freshman sprinter Irvin-Muhammad, who had already qualified for the indoor conference championships in the event, had a time of 7.76 for a second-place finish.

It was not the only event crown the first-year Huskie received on the day. She also won the 60-meter hurdles, out of the 13 competitors, when she crossed the finish line with a time of 8.65.

Fellow freshman multi-event athlete Claudette Day was a fourth-place finisher, with a time of 8.94 in the 60-meter hurdles event.

Bigby just missed out on a third event title when her time of 25.37 in the 200-meter dash earned her a third-place finish out of 12.

Freshmen Tahtyana Peer and Alexandria Isom continued their successful starts, as they placed fifth and sixth, respectively, in the 200-meter event.

Senior middle-distance runner Rebecca Cronin had the fifth-best time of 10 in the 400-meter run, with a 58.87 in the event. Junior Julianne Cronin earned second in the event with a 57.51 finish.

Sophomore Leah Raffety put up a personal-best performance in the 3,000 meters, earning first place out of 11 runners. Her 10:21.11 beat her previous best by nearly two seconds.

Throwers junior Sidra Sherrill and freshman Tyra Bickham finished in two of the top three spots in shot put, with 43-05.00 and 43-01.50 marks, respectively.

Junior multi-event athlete Michaela Dwyer was fourth out of 11 in the high jump at 5-03.00, as well as fourth out of 11 in the long jump at 17-03.50.

Bigby, Rebecca Cronin, Peer and Julianne Cronin combined to run a 3:49.83 to win the 4-by-400-meter relay.

“I like where we are at heading into conference,” Teaberry said. “If we want to get the gold, if we want to get on that podium, there is always things we can do a little bit better.

“So, we’ll keep plugging at those, keep working at it. The biggest thing is that confidence. They are still young. They are starting to get that confidence on the track, which I believe is going to help them get the better marks as we get to the MAC Championships.”