Track and field has strong showing at home tournament

By Ed Rietveld

Track and field team took full advantage of being at home this weekend as the Huskies came away with nine event titles at the Huskie open, five on the track and four in the field.

Megan Gregory, senior sprinter and hurdler, came away with two titles on Saturday, one in the 100-meter hurdles where her time of 14.68 was nearly a second faster than her nearest competitor and the other in the 200 meters, where she clocked in at 25.84. Two other NIU sprinters rounded out the top three in the 200: junior Alexandra Rowe finished second at 26.29 and junior Brittany Smith finished third with a time of 26.34.

Gregory said being at home helped her be successful in both the 100 hurdles and the 200 meters.

“I think it’s kind of the atmosphere of being home [and] having a lot of local fans and people around to kind of cheer us on through the line,” Gregory said.

Head coach Connie Teaberry said one particular attribute of Gregory’s makes her the athlete she is.

“Megan’s just a competitor, you know, she’s been since her freshman year and we hate to lose her as a senior,” Teaberry said. “But I think you know [the] home crowd and just her desire to be No. 1, just her desire to win. She prevailed today.”

In the 100 meters, senior sprinter Janay Mitchell captured the win with her run of 12.15. She was followed by Smith, who came in third at 12.51, redshirt senior Chanel Kellyman at fourth in 12.54 and Rowe, who finished sixth with a time of 12.94. The Huskies’ solid day on the track was rounded out by two event wins from the 4×100 meter relay team, which crossed the finish line first at 48.29, and the 4×400 meter relay team, which beat the second-place UIC Flames by more than 11 seconds with a time of 3:55.15.

NIU’s field athletes had an almost equally outstanding day at the Huskie open, coming away with four event titles. Sophomore thrower Sidra Sherrill won the shot put with a new personal best toss of 46-08.00. Fellow Huskie freshman Olivia Herzog registered a personal best in the shot put of 43-03.25. Sophomore Michaela Dwyer won the javelin with a career-best mark of 103-03 in her last attempt.

The jumpers also had a successful day on Saturday. Freshman Ida Burbulla won the high jump with a mark of 5-03.00 and sophomore Alexandra Schad won the long jump with her personal-best leap of 17-05.00. Two other Huskies finished in the top four of the long jump: Dwyer was second with a mark of 17-04.75 and junior Natalie Tarter was fourth, registering a jump of 17-00.50.

Field event coach Kevin Dwyer said he was proud of his team’s performance on Saturday.

“I was really impressed and really happy with the way the field eventers came out today,” Dwyer said. “They had a really positive attitude. I think being at home they really wanted to put on a good show for their friends and family, and they just felt comfortable with the meet here.”

Schad said having so many field events doing so well this weekend helps that part of the team in terms of confidence.

“It means a lot because we’re all coached by the same coach” Coach Dwyer,” Schad said. “So, just to be able to do well in the long jump and in the javelin or shot is important to us cause sometimes as field athletes we’re not recognized as much as athletes on the track. So, it’s definitely special to have a lot of field athletes doing well.”

Track and field’s success wasn’t just limited to DeKalb this weekend, as redshirt sophomore distance runner Meghan Heuer qualified for the MAC outdoor championships in the 800 meters with an 11th place finish in the field of more than 100 runners at the Beach Invitational in Norwalk, Calif. Heuer, who is already qualified for the 1,500 meters at the conference meet in May, ran a time of 2:09.82 to claim her second invite to Akron. Sophomore Jamie Burr also competed in the 800 meters, setting a personal best running 2:12.56, which was good enough for a 21st place finish.