Track runs to new records

By Matt Stacionis

After an 18-year absence, NIU track is back in full force.

Before the season started, team members eagerly talked about how they would have the opportunity to break some long-standing records. Saturday’s Illinois State Invitational was just the beginning of what runners hope can be a flurry of broken marks this season.

“A few of our athletes just ran tremendous,” said head coach Shantel Twiggs. “Lisa Carter broke a near-20-year record, and Danelle [Buttel] broke a record that has stood for 21 years. We are looking forward to the rest of the season with optimism.”

Carter toppled the 60-meter high-hurdle mark at 9.84. The old record belonged to Kathy Wolfe, who ran a 10.0 back in 1981.

Buttel also inked her name with an 11th-place finish in the 400-meter dash at 1:05.08 — beating a record set in 1979.

NIU track was discontinued following the 1983 season and was brought back this year to comply with Title IX college athletic regulations.

The majority of the Huskie team is not on scholarship, yet members had some notable finishes Saturday. Shot putter Megan Kuebel finished fifth, as did the 4×400 relay team.

The top placer was sophomore Renee Kleckner, who notched fourth in the 3,000-meter race. Her 11:32.15 was only a half-minute off Western Illinois’ Stacy Sullivan.

“This meet was a great opportunity for the team to determine how well they maintained their fall conditioning fitness through winter break,” Twiggs said. “For the most part, we picked up where we left off in the fall season.”