Track and field athletes ready for season

By Rhema Rhea

Track and field has seen success these past few seasons, setting program marks, and this year they are hoping to stay on that path.

Some key sprinters returning this season are seniors Rebecca Cronin and Erica Miller. Cronin is a record holder herself, having the best 800-meter time in program history with a time of 2:08.94.

Cronin is also a part of the 2012 Huskies who ran the first 4×400 team to take the track. Her relay team was made up of Chanel Kellyman, sister Julianne Cronin and Rasheta Butler.

Cronin and Miller are returnees who head coach Connie Teaberry sees being major contributors to how the indoor season goes.

“For indoor, yes, definitely [they] will make an impact on the track,” Teaberry said. “Those three young ladies, they bring leadership and dedication to the team, and we are looking forward to them — at least Rebecca and Erica — ending their NIU careers on a high note.”

The Huskies will begin their first season without three-year standout sprinter Janay Mitchell, who graduated in May. Mitchell has records for the 100- and 200-meter dashes, with times of 11.61 and 24.02,


Mitchell also made the record books participating in relays, breaking school records in the 4×100 and 4×200 relays along with her former teammates Kellyman, Roneisha Frye and Butler.

All three no longer run for NIU, as Frye and Butler graduated two seasons ago and Kellyman and Mitchell finished up their careers last year.

“[Janay’s a] very talented young lady and was able to step on the track and represent NIU to the fullest by putting points on the board,” Teaberry said. “Even after injures last year [she] was still able to score for us and represent the team at the MAC Championships.”

Some returnees from the muti-event heptathlon and pentathlon are Michaela Dwyer in the pentathlon and Natalie Tarter in the heptathlon, where she set a school record with her score of 4,473 at the outdoor MAC Championship. Dwyer was NIU’s point maker in the indoor MAC championship in the pentathlon, scoring 3,236 points.

Teaberry ranks junior Sidra Sherrill as the top returning thrower from last season. Sherrill placed eighth in the MAC Championship last year with a 47-11.75 showing in the shot put.

Sherrill is the only returning thrower from last year’s roster. The junior not only has to get used to new throwers coming in, but also has to adjust to first-year throwing coach Vince Bingham.

“It is definitely new and different. [I’m] learning a lot of different things, but it is going well,” Sherrill said. “We’ll see how my first meet goes; hopefully it goes great to see where I am at.”

Bingham will also be in charge of all the jumpers and the heptathlon athletes in his first season.

To try and move on from the crop of talent that has graduated, a group of freshmen are ready to try and contribute. NIU has about 16 freshmen this season.

“We have a very talented freshmen group that has graced the team, [and] we are honored that they have chosen Northern Illinois University,” Teaberry said. “The ladies were top finishers in their state meets respectively, hard workers and academically sound.”

The distance runners will not jump back into competition until January as they are still

recovering from their fall cross country season.