DeKALB — Four members of the track and field team competed in the NCAA West preliminaries Thursday through Saturday. Many personal records were set, and Head Coach Connie Teaberry said she's proud of the athletes for what they accomplished.
"Having four athletes qualify for the NCAA Prelims was a great accomplishment," Teaberry said."Our team was extremely young this year, but was able to ink one freshman, two juniors, and a senior which was huge for the program. We expect to have more in the years to come."
Junior multi-event runner NeShay Curtis competed first at 6:30 p.m on Thursday. Curtis finished 40 in the 400-meter hurdles to start the competition. Curtis ran a time of ran a time of 1:02.49 to finish sixth in heat four, which was not fast enough to advance to Friday's quarterfinal round.
Teaberry was impressed with Curtis and her performance.
"NeShay has worked hard all season," Teaberry said."I’ve always seen her potential, but it hard to perfect her 400 Hurdle technique when you can’t get outside to practice the event as needed due to the weather. She never let that bother her and remained true to the process we had and came up big for the team at conference."
Junior multi-event runner Remy Amarteifio ran the 100-meter hurdles in 13.41 seconds on Friday. This time was a personal best, and set a school record but was not enough for Amarteifio’s advancement into the quarterfinals.
Competing in the fifth of six heats, Amarteifio took fourth place in her heat with a time of 13.41 seconds, which put her into Saturday's quarterfinal round with one heat to go. In the sixth heat, Hope Bender, UC Santa Barbara junior heptathlon runner picked up the last qualifying spot with a fifth-place finish of 13.39 and sixth-place Taylor Pegram, University of Nevada, Las Vegas redshirt senior multi-event runner also edged Amarteifio's time by three one-thousandths of a second.
Amarteifio's 13.41 second-time broke her own previous school record of 13.48 seconds, which was set last season at the Mid-American Conference Championships.
Teaberry knows that Amarteifio has what it takes to be an athlete and is impressed by her personal record.
"Remy is one of the most competitive and focused athletes I have ever coached," Teaberry said. "She never gives up, which is a characteristic of a great athlete. I couldn’t have asked for more from Remy. She was due for a new PR and topped it off with a School Record, I’d say was a great performance."
Finishing out the west preliminaries on Saturday was senior jumper Jehvania Whyte and Diamond Riley, first-year sprinter and jumper. The pair competed in the triple jump.
Whyte recorded a leap of 12.89 meters, qualifying her for the NCAA finals for the second consecutive year. The All-American jumper was placed fourth of four flights, and started the west preliminary with her best jump (12.89 meters). This qualified her for the championships in Austin, Texas.
Teaberry is excited for Whyte and her accomplishments.
"I’m saddened that this was her last Outdoor season," Teaberry said. "But I'm honored that she gets to end it going back to the NCAA Finals in an attempt to reclaim All American status."
Riley jumped in flight one and posted a best mark of 12.33 meters, to finish 32 for her first appearance in the NCAA preliminaries.
Teaberry is ready for what's to come of Riley and her future.
"Diamond, as a freshman, qualifying for the first round is impressive," Teaberry said."She is still trying to process and figure out college athletics. Knowing this makes her accomplishments this season exciting to see what her future beholds. She got to see what it takes to move on, and now she is hungry for a taste of that athletic life, and I believe she has the talent to get there."
Whyte will represent NIU at the NCAA Championships in the triple jump on June 8 in Austin, Texas.